Todd Waring’s one-man show, “Five Uneasy Pieces,” is definitely worth catching at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The title is half accurate. Audiences will actually be treated to six unique characters, instead of five. The “uneasy” part remains true, in the most wonderful way possible. Each of the six characters is struggling with those demons that live just below the surface of everyday life. And each character is losing that struggle. Whether it is the battle against having no talent as a performer (the character, I assure you, not Waring), or battles against reality or the status quo, Waring makes sure each of these six people is engrossing and hilarious. Be warned, the piece includes mature language and gunshots on stage, and the humor is incredibly dark, but absolutely worth it.
As both the writer and the performer, Waring (who has been seen both on and off Broadway and has dozens of television credits, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) demonstrates an advanced ability to explore extremes with a range that is to be envied. Separated by little more than an accompanist on the upright bass (Lyman Medeiros), each character is wildly different and instantly accessible. While the phrase “tour-de-force” gets thrown around a lot in theater reviews, it fits quite nicely while watching Waring on stage. His ability to instantly throw himself into each of the characters keeps the audience engaged and excited. Add the intimate setting of the Elephant Space and you have one heck of a theater experience.
“Five Uneasy Pieces” is being presented as a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, which has 170 registered projects over its three-week run. It continues at the Elephant Space in Hollywood Thursdays, June 16 and 23, at 8 p.m. and Saturdays, June 18 and 25, at 2 p.m.