Noah J Nelson on Tuesday, Jun. 12th
One person shows hinge on the talent of their performer. Thankfully for Fringe audiences, Tiffany Anne Price is a hilariously un-self-conscious comic presence. Price’s show Confessions of a Cat Lady (with a side of crazy) is a bombastic hour that uses Price’s outsized personality to generate megawatts of laughs while unveiling some of the flaws at the heart of the human behind the social mask.
Price takes on the theme of jealousy for this work, confessing early on that she’s always had a problem with it. She was the kind of kid who who shove their siblings just to get revenge on them for being alive. From the wrong performer this kind of admission– which from a solo artist is an un-shocking revelation that they need to be the center of attention– could come off as malicious or just sad. Yet Price, with her cat collecting problems and manic comic charm, subtly projects that she’s made it past whatever serious damage her jealousy might have wreaked on her and her loved ones.
Even with the heavy theme what we get are a series of comic anecdotes, presented as a collection of confessions, which illustrate the toll Price’s jealous nature takes from her. Price numbers the confessions, leaping around an unseen list in a way that suggests we might be heading for a central revelation. One never really comes, which speaks to a mild level of disconnect between the show’s structure and it’s tone. Price’s energy and skill as a storyteller easily overcome this, however, so that’s more of a note for her and director Kimleigh Smith to consider.
There were moments where Price’s speed of delivery overmatched her clarity, but these were tiny blemishes that served more as speed bumps than as major disasters. Price should know that she’s free to slow down a bit at points: she has the audience on her side early on. That gives one the permission to play with tone and tempo.
Perhaps the best thing is that Price has crafted a show about someone with clear narcissistic tendencies– herself– that manages to be neither self-aggrandizing or a deeply uncomfortable psychoanalytical session. Given the current state of alternative stand-up this is quite a feat. Price manages to be bright, bubbly, and truthful. We can’t help but like her, and neither do we feel tricked into doing so. That warmth we feel by the end is real.
Frankly, I’m jealous.
Confessions of a Cat Lady (with a side of crazy) plays at Fringe Central at the Open Fist Theatre (6209 Santa Monica Blvd) as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. June 16th, 20th, and 23rd. Check the Fringe website for showtimes.