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Fringe Fest: & Billions More 

Wednesday, Sep 12 2007

A black hole is going to suck up planet Earth. The entire population is going to die. These are humanity's last precious moments. Ripe Theater Company has a fine idea for the premise of its new play, but that's about it. Instead of playing the doomsday scenario seriously, where truly enthralling drama and all-out humor could explode, they decided to create absurd and completely unbelievable characters. In the first scene, a stoned, skinny guy preens about in his Superman Underoos before announcing he's going to somehow save the world. Then there's a silly couple, recently fallen head-over-heels in love, who finally break up over disagreeing whether they should die like Romeo and Juliet. The show has a few glimmering moments in a scene when two self-help gurus start to see the gaping holes in their corny theories. Between these vignettes are infomercial voice-overs hawking ridiculous weight loss plans and impotence pills that perhaps signal humanity was doomed anyway. & Billions More has interesting elements of a first draft, but in its present state it feels half-baked and shallow.

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Nathaniel Eaton


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