Ashley Strand: Glorified Disasters
About halfway through this show you find yourself wondering what exactly it is that you're watching. It's billed as comedy and it definitely opens with the rhythm of standup, but it's also kind of spoken word, and a bit like a one-man play. Then, around the time of his struggle to get cast in the local theatre, you realise what you're really watching: an actor attempting to showcase his talents.
The three stories presented vary in quality. The best is a tale of how Strand accidentally gave a guy a blowjob; there's also the tale of childhood fight that aims at pathos but doesn't quite get there. The opener is based around a massive toilet paper-themed amusement park in New York, which we can only hope is a satirical fantasy because if this place really exists then America is truly fucked.
It's not that Strand isn't talented. He very much is, and what his acting lacks in naturalism it makes up for in presence and physicality. However, his writing is kind of like a Monet in reverse. Each individual bit of it is very pretty and sharply defined, but when you stand back and consider the whole thing, it looks like a bit of a mess.