The Soccergirl Second
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
June 9, 2006
The mind has the wonderful ability to create pictures where there are none. Most of us have had the experience of seeing a famous radio personality for the first time and thinking, "Geez, that's not how I pictured him/her." Sometimes we're pleasantly surprised and other times it's quite the opposite. In the case of Soccergirl (aka Anni Ridegeair), the world's first naked podcaster, I had mixed feelings of pleasant surprise and disappointment.
This is not a case of putting pictures where there are none but rather of putting live action where there was once only a voice. This is also a "first ever": it's the first podcast brought to the stage. (Note: For a naked podcast, the show is markedly clothed.) Naturally there will be kinks to work out when you're doing the first ever of anything. There is a lot about this show that is absolutely hilarious. There are other things that need a little attention.
The show consists of a several short bits and skits and a couple of short films. I enjoyed the content of the show, especially the films. The first film, titled What Makes Celebrities Tick, is about a young girl (Soccergirl) who has decided to learn all she can about the world and life in general by reading in gossip magazines about how celebrities deal with life. The film is filled with quite brilliant short commentaries that are equally ironic and funny. The other film, I Am God, stars Soccergirl as God incarnate. She's a laid-back and somewhat jaded God with lots of advice on how we might live our lives. She also waxes philosophically on some odd and unrelated subjects. These films are the highlights of the show.
The sketches are not conceived for the stage as well as they could be. Sure, they're funny enough, but they feel like tongue-in-cheek gone wrong. There is relatively little attention given to set and lights. There are some interesting songs and some nicely designed placards but this does little in the way of adding theatricality to the show (and theatricality is what this show desperately needs).
I think it would behoove Soccergirl to work with a director who could breathe theatrical life into her program. Her podcast is very funny and I was looking forward to seeing it live, but as it turned out it's a little bit of a disappointment. (Not to mention that the first ever naked podcaster only flashes her lovely, perky breasts once. I suppose the whole naked thing is what makes this show a "sellout," so having very little nakedness is actually kind of interesting.)
The cast, Anni Ridegeair, Jake Ridegeair, and Ryan P. Murray, are all very talented. Murray in particular does a fantastic Irish accent. Jake is subtle and unaffected. Anni is all over the place. She has enough energy to run the lights on the Las Vegas strip.
The Soccergirl Second is worth a look—if anything because it's a first ever. I didn't have a bad experience I just had higher expectations due to the many laughs I've gotten from her podcast. I honestly hope this isn't the last time we get a chance to see her do her stuff on stage.