Peter Michael Marino greets the audience as we arrive. He’s bouncing about with a nervous energy that he uses to work the crowd and ensure everyone is settled in before he begins his one man show. It’s a one man show with a difference though; Marino is going to tell the story of our lives, not his.
Marino has created a unique hour of entertainment
The first half of Show Up is part stand-up, part group therapy as Marino shares with us his theory that showing up is 80% of life. He tells us a bit about his past failures and the daily struggles of dealing with his social anxiety and fading memory. He’s a likeable fellow who clearly wants us to feel at ease and, when a (to be honest) very well framed joke on the subject of Alzheimer’s causes some slight offence from a trio of ladies in the audience, he is quick to apologise for their discomfort and assures them that, in the context of the rest of the show, they’ll understand the placing of the gag. It’s an awkward moment handled with grace and respect and, although the ladies remain unconvinced and eventually leave early, the rest of the audience obviously side with Marino and warm to him even further.
The second half sees Marino explain the concept of the show; we are to provide him with stories from our lives that he will use to craft a typical one-man show. With some assistance from an audience member to stage manage and another to handle the sound design, Marino launches into a hilarious improvised tale (based entirely on audience suggestions) that tells the story of one man’s struggle with violent, cheese-making parents, an obsession with cemeteries, a run for political office and a final, happy marriage to a lesbian ex-con. There’s even a couple of songs thrown in.
Marino has created a unique hour of entertainment buy taking the overplayed solo show format and fashioning an improvised comedy routine that works all the better for the audience’s connection to the source material.