BIG DUMMY me & my old man
nytheatre.com review by Case Aiken
August 9, 2013
A scene from BIG DUMMY me & my old man
Big Dummy: Me and My Old Man is a one-woman show playing in this year’s New York International Fringe Festival, starring writer/comedian Mary Dimino. The piece is a reflection on her life, viewed through the prism of her relationship with her father. While this is hardly a new formula for a show, particularly for one in the Fringe, Dimino does an excellent job with the material. Along with direction by Christine Renee Miller, Mary Dimino has created a thoroughly watchable and enjoyable piece.
Not wishing to spoil the story too much since it is very well told, it follows Dimino’s acceptance of the differences between herself and her parents. Growing up, she comes to realize that her parents just aren’t quite as smart as she is, but she comes to love them and understand them, and in doing so understand herself better.
As I said I, the story isn’t something revolutionary but it is very well developed. The strongest part of the show is certainly Dimino herself. She comes across almost instantly as very personable, like a good friend that the audience has known for years within moments of taking the stage. Perhaps the most delightful surprise of the piece is how well Dimino transforms when taking on characters from her past, which can often be a tricky in a show like this. Her ability to present relatable and likable characters makes the relationships that she explores all the stronger.
The show isn’t without its share of problems. It comes off as maybe a little too precious at times. This is Dimino’s story, not ours, and while we relate, it isn’t one that we lived through. These problems are par for the course with these types of shows, however and so are generally forgivable. Also, a minor nitpick: the volume on sound effects and music played over the speakers was uncomfortably loud at the performance I attended, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s since been corrected.
Overall, Big Dummy is an extremely enjoyable piece, that I’m glad to have seen.