AUDIENCE OF ONE by Eric Andrews (New King Productions/Fringe). At Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. July 6 at 6:45 pm, July 8 at 9:15 pm, July 9 at 8:30 pm, July 10 at 3 pm, July 11 at 4:30 pm, July 13 at 6:45 pm, July 14 at 1 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Writer/performer Eric Andrews‘ stated goal for this intentionally left-field show is to perform for (and connect with) an audience of one, but he had a healthy crowd for the mid-afternoon show we attended a trend likely to continue.
The two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner entered to great (self-announced) fanfare, carrying an armful of awards, but he quickly dropped the self-aggrandizing in favour of painfully honest candour about his familial relationships. This is definitely not traditional stand-up, which Andrews has done in the past, but more akin to fellow comic Mark Forward’s non-sequitur comedy specials on Crave. However, unlike Forward, Andrews has a through-line that is carefully teased out by director Ann Merriam.
Andrews attempts to connect with his audience in several ways: by showing a series of paintings that he garners opinions on, by playing some voicemail recordings, doing quick polls, and telling embarrassing personal stories. There is a specific audience this show is aimed at and we won’t reveal who. Let’s just say that Andrews’ deliberately awkward manner and overt vulnerability clearly won over his fascinated patrons.