A NoHo Arts theatre review of ”The Undiscovered Country: The Skeptic’s Guide to the Afterlife,” written and performed by Larry Davidson, directed and developed by Heather Dowling, produced by Jessica Lynn Johnson at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival.
For millennia and time immemorial humans have pondered the possibilities of a life after death. Heaven, paradise, nirvana, utopia, shangri-la, this other eden…take your pick. And then there is the myriad of stories from those who have passed through the veil and returned to this world. Lights and tunnels and orbs of stars, dead relatives, profits and Elvis.
Larry Davidson returned from death after getting sick on holiday in Mexico. He swallowed a parasite and, if not for being airlifted to San Diego, would have surely died. And stayed dead. His recovery was long and arduous. He had to begin again both physically and emotionally after his girlfriend left him. Brutal. But his story became this show and everything he learned about himself, about what comes next, and about what life is truly worth. He now spends his time passing all this knowledge and experience on to others.
How doe he do that you might ask? Well, Larry is utterly hilarious and a truly gifted storyteller, and he also dabbles in magic.
And film. The show he has miraculously put together tells his story in mythical pieces all drawn from the tarot deck and guided by the audience. Like a true magician, he carves his performance out of the reactions of his crowd, each part of his journey’s retelling conjoined to the cards. Death, magician, jester and so on. Every turn predestined so to speak. Just like life. With each turn of a card a chapter in his life is told and it all unfolds beautifully.
”The Undiscovered Country: The Skeptic’s Guide to the Afterlife” is a gorgeous show. Original, funny, uplifting, spiritual and nerdy. I loved it. Deeply.
Larry is a showman at heart, full of fun and incredibly clever like the best performers are. But there’s a sweetness to him too, amid his wise sardonic asides and the quirky hilarious props and routines. He has depth. So the story of his walk through fire becomes more meaningful and true. I loved the way he connects to his audience. He has that quiet kind of energy that draws you in, makes you want to listen and believe him. He is a teacher and I can only imagine how brilliant his classes are and how much his students must love him.
“The Undiscovered Country” is a triumph of a show. I laughed all the way back home remembering moments and glances and the intense cleverness of every minute.
There are many moving pieces and much could have gone wrong, but Heather Dowling and the perceptive nuances of her directing skills helped him pull all this together and feel confident in each and every cue. That’s support!! What a brilliant team! Love love loved this show!!!
Sunday, June 19 at 3:45PM
Tuesday, June 21 at 7:30PM
7456 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90046