Beginning at the funeral of a Hollywood man who was mysteriously murdered, the story follows a noir-like path through interviews with several people acquainted to one degree or another with the victim. Hoffman imbues the half-dozen or so characters in his beautifully written play with palpable life life slightly larger-than, in fact, in keeping with one cab driver's observation that in Hollywood everyone thinks he or she is a movie star. Suffused with alternately wry and raucous humor, affecting but understated emotion, and flashes of genuine insight and wisdom, Last Fare lures us to the fateful site of apartment 609, only to meet us with surfaces so crystalline in their appearance, and solid in their depth, that they become as much mirror as doorway.
One show not seen in time for review but worth flagging for consideration is San Franciscobased writer-actor David Jacobson's Theme Park. A hysterically funny and sharp excerpt at the San Francisco Theater Festival had phrases like "powerhouse," "Best of Fringe," and "creatively disturbed" written all over it. Also promising is The Burroughs and Kookie Show: Late Night in the Interzone. The title alone appeals, but knowing this RIPE Theater coproduction is the brainchild of writer-performer Christopher Kuckenbaker (whose recent performance credits include Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage) seals the deal.
SAN FRANCISCO FRINGE FESTIVAL
Through Sept 19, $10$12.99 ($45 for 5 shows; $75 for 10)
Various locations, SF