Theater that won't hold still...
This company is that rare aggregation that moves as deftly as it delivers dialog - the intonation rarely rings false...McAllister possesses both a passion for notable literature and a taste for whimsy, rare and welcome attributes in any choreographer.
Good comedy has an ability to draw you in even as you stay at arm’s length. McAllister at her best — and she is good here — has that gift of playing with perspectives and focus, while keeping the audience off balance. McAllister has also learned from Chandler: Out of all those misfiring plot twists, she pulled together a lickety-split mystery that took off like a rocket.
Brilliantly written and choreographed, often brain-achingly funny, this Alice in Wonderland journey is a whirlwind of mischievous nonsequiturs…marvelous and memorable. Special kudos must go to Jenny McAllister who wrote much of the material and created the hilariously adorable character of Rabbit.
Five limber, uniquely expressive performers go on a wild ride in 13th Floor’s “Next Time, I’ll Take the Stairs.” Engaging, sometimes perplexing and always fun to watch, the 65-minute show onstage at the Joe Goode Annex in The City has a distinctive “Alice in Wonderland” feel. It even has a character named Rabbit, played by 13th Floor Artistic Director Jenny McAllister, who wrote the wacky yet provocative script and designed the evocative sound.The leader of the San Francisco troupe, which calls what it does “comic theater that moves,” clearly has worked closely with her four actor-dancer-acrobat collaborators; all are equally adept with words and movement.…. heart, joy, grace, athleticism and humor make “Next Time, I’ll Take the Stairs” a one-of-a-kind experience.”
(Next Time, I’ll Take the Stairs) “Before long, characters have plummeted into a world where space and time break rules as well, where a ticking sound can bite you and where the ensemble swim in a lake that pours out of a character’s pockets.”
The Broken Knife is a delightful journey through clashing mythologies. Much lighter in tone, but no less ambitious than last year’s A Wake, 13th Floor’s latest creation delivers. Colin Epstein and Julie Mahony sparkle as Hermes and Cupid—I could watch their playful romping all night! Zach Fisher and Jenny McAllister share a sweet and believable chemistry as an unsuspecting God son and a fire-haired Norse barbarian. Balancing out this remarkable cast, Zeus and Hera are taken to haughty and naughty new heights by Blane Ashby and Nicole Nastari. The Broken Knife is a joyful mashup of movement, sound and a generous dose of physical comedy that only amplifies this well-crafted story.
A storyteller at heart, McAllister’s trademark humor creeps into almost all of her work - she is known for her quirky, irreverent creations. And, as in the best hard-boiled crime novels, murder and heartache with a touch of black humor are the driving forces behind “Being Raymond Chandler.
Photos by Bob Epstein, Pak Han and Andy Mogg, Robbie Sweeny