One person shows are notoriously difficult to pull off, I can serve as a reluctant witness to several stinkers. So I am always a little wary when one comes up and I tend to brace for disaster.
However, I was more than a little relieved by “Til’ Death Do Us Part...You First!” Peter Fogel, clearly a talented stand-up comic, has put together a show about the pain of being single and made it funny - very funny, as the packed opening night crowd can attest.
A 50s-something man, never married, no kids, gives us an overview of his life while he ponders on how to handle his latest breakup.
Mr Fogel takes us on a tour of his past relationships, mistakes, regrets and self-discovery, all leading to the realization that he has actually found real love and needs to fight to keep it.
The twist, and there should always be a twist, is that Fogel is visited by a disembodied voice, guiding him through his mishaps and leading him, sometimes begrudgingly, toward happiness. That voice is the voice of God or, more accurately, Morgan Freeman. It’s so interesting how Mr Freeman can lend so much authenticity, proving the existence of God in just a few minutes of dialogue, after thousands of years of doubt.
The play is set on Valentine's Day, and we can all relate to that particularly stressful day, a minefield of potential mistakes and relationship ruin. Mr Fogel has made the kind of screw up that we all fall foul to at one time or another…and his girlfriend dumps him. During the play, intermingled skillfully with Fogel’s amusing monologues, we are treated to film footage of certain relevant moments with his girlfriend, filling in the gaps so to speak.
Mr Fogel certainly seems at home in front of an audience, playfully improvising with the occasional murmurs of agreement to whatever point he was making. He entertains us with anecdotes and characters that hold particular importance in his story, skillfully bringing them to life with his obvious gift for mimicry.
The whole mix has the effect of Mr Fogel successfully navigating us through his tumultuous relationships, both recent and not so while revisiting them for his own clear purpose…to stop being an idiot. So we go on this ride together, not just spectators but companions. It adds a lovely intimacy and by the end of the play we are all rooting for him and wishing him well.
If you enjoy laughing at your own misadventures, tortuous dates and disastrous relationships, or those of others, then “Til' Death Do Us Part…You First!” is probably right up your alley!
There were quite a few times when I recognized myself in Mr Fogels painful moments that's for sure.
I highly recommend “Til' Death Do Us Part…You First!” at The Whitefire Theatre. Keep an eye out for this terrific one-man show, Mr Fogel performs it regularly.
Written by Peter J. Fogel
Directed by Matt Silva