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Theatre Review: One Night Only Is Absurdism At Its Best At Women’s Project Theater

The Monica Bill Barnes’ And Company’s One Night Only is absolutely absurd. With barely any word spoken from the two leads, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, oddly succeeds thanks to the audience. If there is one secret, silly ingredient that always manifests into delight it is audience participation.One Night Only might be the first 64 minute show where an audience is the biggest part to a show success.

Audience participation is not an easy “trick”. To bank on a crowd’s willingness to partake and openness to laugh at your insanity is like buying a lotto ticket and SWEARING you won without even scratching it. Yet, with a narrator who does interviews with the audience in exchange for cracker jacks, you find it hard not to warm up to One Night Only’s eccentricity. Created and directed by these energetic ladies and narrator Robert Saenz De Viteri, the show is filled with over 200 spins, a jazzercise portion, and an audience stretch… or, at least, that was what happened that night. One Night Only is part “improv” with the idea that, because every night is a new crowd, something new will happen every night. Hence, again, my admiration for Barnes and Bass to depend so much on the crowd and, in essence, their bodies. From the beginning the narrator presents them as Olympians of physicality, and these women are! With little dialogue, at least audible, you rely on their overt facial expressions as they stretch, leap, and extend themselves beyond human, physical limits. One section of their show was an homage to all their injuries, which left everyone wondering how two women with more muscles than the average humanoid and “really pronounced eyebrows”, as marveled by an audience member’s recorded interview, can be so energetic. By the end of their laundry list of hurt, I felt more healthy, but I cannot make it up the top bunk! If you note from my previous statement, those interviews are recorded to the crowd’s gleeful surprise, and highlight how random and funny people are in their day to day. One guy was hopeful that this show would help him avoid death, while one woman truly believed the ending of this 64 minute show in the fourth floor of a skyscraper would end with hot air balloons.

Overall, One Night Only was a BRILLIANT show, and exuded Barnes and Bass mad genius. These ladies would make Charlie Chaplin and Bertolt Brecht proud of the surreal piece of theater they have made. The way they place their bodies and minds throughout the show in a aesthetic platter to be positively pieced by the crowd left everyone impressed, especially with their choice selection of soundtracking songs such as, Pavorotti’s Nessum Dorma. One Night Only is playing for as long as people buy tickets at the WP Theater, which is located on (2162 Broadway at 76th Street).  Click Here For More Information On Click Here.