IT'S NOT MY FAULT, IT WAS ON FIRE WHEN I GOT THERE
nytheatre.com review by Antonio Sacre
There are a lot of reasons to brave the heat and cram yourself
into the tiny Downtown Variety Lounge at the Present Company to
see It's Not My Fault, It was on Fire when I Got There,
written and directed by Carl Andress. The first is Marcy
McGuigan, a delightful performer who expertly transforms herself
into many different characters without ever falling intocliche.
August 15, 2002
The second is the clever script, which ratchets up the tension and intrigue of a sordid family mystery while being deliciously campy and almost effervescent. The story is complicated, yet doesn't feel so as it unfolds. A writer (played by Andress) needs his sister's (played by McGuigan) permission to publish a story that defames her character. However, the time he chooses to get it is in the middle of her lesbian commitment ceremony in Wisconsin. Mayhem ensues as various friends, aunts, uncles and others (all played by both Andress and/or McGuigan) descend on the day to ruin it (or save it).
The third is watching the two actors play at least ten different roles, switching effortlessly and almost instantaneously among them all without losing the audience.
The fourth is the song and dance number toward the end of the play that resolves all the questions of this family drama. It sits a little uneasily all alone at the end of the play (why not introduce another song earlier?), but still is delightful.
The last might not happen when you go. On opening night, the lights in the DVL failed (pity too, because lightning designer Drew Levy did the most he could with two colors and about ten lights). Andress neatly skipped over to the wall and turned on the house lights and the play continued. When the lights flickered on and off and finally on again with the characters supposedly on a train, Andress improvised, "Damn Amtrak!"
Andress is clearly a talented director, writer and performer, but by wearing all three hats, he is unable to see that his play is twenty minutes too long and could use some paring down. Even so, it is a worthy FringeNYC offering.