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“Sawed in Half” is an entertaining and poignant new one-woman show now playing at the ACME Theatre in North Hollywood.
The show stars the bubbly and talented Andrea Mezvinsky, a former magician’s assistant and off Broadway actress. Ms. Mezvinsky was once crowned “America’s Funniest Mom” on the Oprah Winfrey show. She co-wrote “Sawed in Half” with her director, Victoria Larimore.
Through the show, she takes the audience along on her colorful and stirring journey, starting with her childhood, when she was inspired as a three-year-old to become a performer after watching Baby June perform “Let Me Entertain You” in Ames, Ohio, “where the cows outnumbered the Jews.” Besides Baby Jane, her muses range from Frida Kahlo to Erma Bombeck and Isadora Duncan.
Her hilarious, guilt-spewing mom appears via voiceover, and Ms. Mezvinsky also doubles as her deceased, lovable, wisecracking Jewish grandmother from “the other side,” which is a major highlight of the show. Ms. Mezvinsky also shines with mic in hand, doing portions of her stand-up comedy routine.
The relatable show is Ms. Mezvinsky’s ode to overcoming obstacles, including difficult men, difficult mothers and the difficulty of being an actress while moving forward in life to attain her goals. As she says, “The past is like your ass… it’s behind you.” Amen.
Double your pleasure with ‘Sawed in Half’ at NoHo’s Acme Theater
Review by John K. Adams
Andrea Mezvinsky tells her story in the one-woman show Sawed in Half, with the warmth and familiarity of an old friend. This reviewer’s friends should be so funny.
Much of Sawed in Half is about Mezvinksy learning to discern her true identity from the off-the-rack-into-the-box variety mandated by our culture: victim, feminist, slut, wife, mother. Can anyone find happiness when all their time is spent learning someone else’s lines and hitting marks set by another?
One of Mezvinsky’s first jobs, as a magician’s assistant, illustrates the contortions she felt required to perform in order to stay employed and to gain acceptance in the world. That she alone was creating the magic while stuck inside a box initiates her journey to self-realization.
Her dead grandmother’s sage advice to her ever “verklempt” granddaughter—urgently offered from beyond a heavenly cloud—is hilarious.
Mezvinsky’s portrayal of Every-woman defies belief with her full throttle, turn-on-a-dime performance. She flips into multiple characters with the ease some wish we had with our TV remote. Take that, Frieda Kahlo!
Veteran co-writer/director Victoria Larimore brings wit and focus to the proceedings. Larry Minion co-produces.
Anyone who has felt trapped in a relationship, trapped in their life, or trapped in a spa owes it to themselves to see Sawed in Half.
NOHO Arts Review
Sawed in Half
Written by Victoria Larimore & Andrea Mevzinsky
Directed by Victoria Larimore
I have a bit of a soft spot for one woman shows, and I’ve been lucky enough to see quite a few of them this year so far, all of them excellent.
And "Sawed in Half" at Acme on Lankershim is no exception.
What Victoria Larimore and Andrea Mevzinzky have created here in “Sawed in Half” is an unapologetic and unrestricted peek inside the mind of a woman dealing with the kind of stuff we all deal with as women…low self worth, family expectations, the stress of not being perfect constantly, dating men who can actually string a sentence together etc, etc.
With an impressive array of credentials, both these writers not only bring their own individual and unique creativity but a keen sense of “this is who I am. Get over it.”
I love that the story takes us through a life not neatly, from one end to the other, but in intense bursts of poignancy and moments of clarity. This works brilliantly as a way of managing exactly what is really important to the character Andrea has created, and how and why she arrives at this present moment in her life.
The character is Andrea Mevzinsky, make no mistake, a stand up comedian and Oprah’s “funniest mom." This is her actual life we are witnessing, or at least the parts of it that are relevant to the particular story she is choosing to tell.
With the very clever precept of literally returning Andrea’s two halves to the correct position, namely firmly attached to each other, there is a huge poster of the two separated parts of Andrea on stage just to be crystal clear. The show covers the time in her life where she truly began to explore her chosen profession, acting. Andrea spent some time as a magician's assistant being sewn if half on a nightly basis, and it is here that the metaphor meets the reality of being a woman…in any kind of business but especially in show business.
Andrea and Victoria’s writing is deft, hilarious and at times bitingly ironic and always very familiar - I am a woman after all! What struck me mostly about this show was how like my own experience Andrea’s was. The family pressures, the dating numbness, the struggle to conform or give up altogether. These are not just female issues of course, they are human issues and I certainly heard plenty of men laughing in the audience I can tell you.
This show is stand up meets “can we talk?” It’s careful to entertain, but not afraid to speak truth, whether we might be comfortable with it or not. It’s a long one act, which is a great choice because we have to stick with her as she careens through her life, sometimes at a thousand miles an hour, but always with a nod to her past, represented by her long-deceased grandmother, who pops up from time to time with advice and fabulously brazen honesty.
This is a great show, and I highly recommend it. Andrea Mevzinsky is wonderful, a truly talented actress and comedian.