Sure to be the envy of the other Fringe acts, Shitty Party was actually too crowded to work. Audience members were crammed in too tightly to wander the crowd and fully explore the other characters. And because it was a party (albeit a shitty one), the din of the conversation at times overwhelmed the scripted moments that had to be heard to give the piece its momentum.
Second, I felt like the show was a little under-written. The framework was set up to create moments onstage between the cast members and then use party games to get the audience up, moving and interacting. It was a shame that the unscripted parts were so much better than the planned bits.
The third reason for those failed expectations was an absolutely horrible ending. Like, really bad. I’ll concede it was designed to be that bad to live up to the show’s title. But good gravy, there had to be a better way than Barry’s last transmission to us. Ugh.
All this said, many parts of Shitty Party had me giggling. I’m even giggling a little as I recall them now. I remain in awe of the actors’ encyclopedic knowledge of all the party guests’ backstories. Watching people dive in and have fun with that aspect was a real hoot, as was the worst line-dance ever and the trust exercise. So Shitty Party truly isn’t all shitty. And it’s entirely possible that it gets less shitty with each performance. At least until they throw you out.
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