Much is laugh-out-loud funny – to quote many of the lines in a review of a play that is really a monolog is the equivalent of revealing plot-spoilers; you have to hear them for yourself – but the show’s most effective moments come when you suddenly realize it’s not funny. That’s the moment when the audience is stunned into silence, and it happens several times.
Director Katie McFadzen, who as an actor did so well in her recent one-woman show as narrator in A Christmas Carol at Herberger Center, draws on that same single-performance energy and absorbs a surprising and unexpected liveliness out of May; he’s considerably more animated when playing Daisy than he was seated behind his table in The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, and the show is all the better for it.
Unlike the real Mike Daisy, May appears far more expressive as he waves his arms, finger points, emphasizes words, and occasionally struts the stage. When he talks of how he feels in the morning, wondering if he ate bad curry or drunk too much the night before, only to realize that his unsettled stomach is the result of remembering that Donald Trump is still running for President, it’s like watching a stand-up routine, and the audience responds accordingly. But it’s when he returns back to the table that substance arises, and that’s when you lean forward in your seat, glued to his every, persuasively presented word. You won’t always like what you hear.