"Asking For It" at The Cherry Lane Theatre Main Stage
Written and Performed by Joanna Rush
Directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza, Theatre Reviews Limited
Joanna Rush once again captivates, entertains, and raises audience awareness in her solo show “Asking For It,” part of the All For One Theater Festival in residence at the Cherry Lane Theatre. She inhabits the life of Bernadette O’Connell as “Bernie” endures a strict Irish Catholic upbringing which, unfortunately, does not prepare her for the daunting task of becoming a Radio City Music Hall Rockette or the lurking shadows of evil that accompany this dream when alone and naïve. For that matter, her upbringing provides a sense of guilt as Bernie struggles to leap obstacles and confront demons that appear throughout her life journey. “Too fat” to become a Rockette, Bernie must lose ten pounds. In order to afford an apartment and food, she sings and dances naked Off Broadway. Bernie drives alone cross country to reunite with her only son and raises him as a single mom. Suddenly, dreams become nightmares.
What is remarkable is Ms. Rush’s ability to inspire the audience with an invigorating performance. She relies on her talent as a dancer, singer and actor to bring humor and drama to her well written script. With no props or costume changes, Rush is able to deftly transform into multiple characters with speed and agility. Her interpretations are detailed and personal, affording the audience the opportunity to become acquainted with and know the character rather than merely providing visual content. The rewarding collaboration with director Lynne Taylor-Corbett provides a unique structure of movement and humor that is thoroughly entertaining but does not distract from the importance of the material, resulting in a well paced, fluid and moving evening of theatre. This indeed is a fractured fairy tale where dreams come true but at a considerable price. Battered self esteem, emotional scars and broken hearts, escort an undying spirit that ensures a happy ending.
ASKING FOR IT
Presented by the All For One Theater Festival, Inc. at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Written and performed by Joanna Rush. Directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Set design by Dean Taucher. Lighting design by Brant Thomas Murray. Sound design by Joachim Horsley.
“Asking For It” will be performed on Saturday September 22nd at 2:00 p.m. at The Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, NYC, (west of 7th Avenue South, 3 blocks south of Christopher Street), and accessible via the A, B, C, D, F and M trains to West 4th Street or the #1 to Christopher Street. Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased online at afofest.org/tickets or by phone at 212-352-3101 or in person at the Cherry Lane Theatre Box Office. For more information about the All For One Festival and a schedule off all Festival performances, visit AFOfest.org.