Fancy Guts %amp; Ghosts
nytheatre.com review by Roger Nasser
August 10, 2008
Fancy Guts & Ghosts is a two-woman absurdist piece written and performed by Amanda Raleigh and Karina Wolfe that explores the cyclical themes and dreams of birth, death, friendship, and the rituals and sacrifices inherent in them. Well at least that's what the press release says, and after reading that, it does put it into perspective. It isn't a clear narrative, but the women move from character to character with ease. For the most part it was easy to follow.
Fancy Guts & Ghosts opens with both performers in an inflatable pool filled with packing peanuts (actually they are submerged in the pool before we entered the theater). The first characters we meet are Ethel and Lottie. Ethel and Lottie are middle-aged women and Raleigh and Wolfe embody their characters beautifully. They play off of each other really well. Raleigh's Ethel is hysterical and endearing; the same could be said of Wolfe's Lottie. I loved the relationship between these characters—they were so engaging.
We are then introduced to Collins (Raleigh) and Lou (Wolfe); they seem to be waking up in some void and trying to figure out where they are. They are babies—reincarnated from their former selves now as brothers.
Watching these two actresses is surely a delight. They have amazing chops as performers and delve into the characters with force. My main problem with Fancy Guts & Ghosts is that it is really short. I wanted more. That isn't a bad thing though—I was taken by them into this world that they created and I loved it.
Fancy Guts & Ghosts is a FringeNYC Festival gem. It reminded me of the early days of the festival, when there were more experimental shows that relied more on the performances and less on a gimmick. These two women handle their material and subject matter with poise and sincerity. They bring humor and honesty to their work. I sincerely hope that these two amazing performers keep bringing great works to the stage.