Being Winona Ryder
Mara B @ The Maid
6:45pm, Mon 7 Mar 2011
I’m at The Maid a bit early, and settle back to snicker at the ‘Tiser reviews over a beer. I’m feeling pretty good; into the final week of The Fringe, Dad’s on the mend, and I’m not feeling like a zombie. And I’m intrigued as to what Being Winona Ryder is going to be about; I’m attracted by Winona’s name and the short run of the show, but beyond that I know nothing about the show or it’s progenitor, Mara B.
I bump into Beth and we sit in the front row. She waxes lyrical about Mara B’s work, and how much effort she’s put into this show. My curiosity is further piqued.
A bad-quality voice comes over the speakers: “Members of the press, Miss Winona Ryder.” Mara B strolls out onto the stage and carefully takes a seat at the table that bears a Ryder nameplate. She hesitantly greets the press cordon… er, audience, and then launches into a series of short pieces loosely based around Winona’s little shoplifting incident.
And that’s an interesting premise, especially when Mara uses it to explore the pressure of the celebrity spotlight (and the role both the media and the public play in it); there’s plenty of opportunity to poke fun at pop culture’s relentless deifying of the celebrity. But it all falls apart because… well, Mara B just does not look prepared.
Constantly checking her lines off sheets of paper hidden behind the shabbily-concocted nameplate, there were pacing problems a-plenty; pauses where there should be none, run-ons when there should be a chance for the audience to reflect (and, too rarely, laugh). I honestly felt as if I was watching a reading of the material, rather than the show that should eventuate. The occasional voice-overs from her agent always seemed to be ill-timed… and Mara’s triggered response was often less-than-natural. And at thirty minutes, it’s a short show… but it still manages to feel like there’s too much filler (and the killer bits are very few and far between).
“A comedy about errors,” reads the Guide blurb. Quite.