Heel kicking her way out from behind a curtain, Megan Stalter appears while twirling her long, long, hair with a stretched smile upon her face. From that first moment, it’s obvious we’re in for something absurd at An Evening of Mayhem with Megan Stalter.
It is, indeed, mayhem. There is a dating show, a novel reading, and a musical opening that starts and restarts a healthy handful of times. There’s moments we’re not sure are intentional or not, and the glaring ambiguities are testament to Stalter’s utter commitment to the bit. It’s annoying and uncomfortable in the best possible way.
Dripping with delusion, Stalter’s on-stage persona is truly exceptional. She’s quick, each joke cutting just right – usually, something inappropriate or airheaded. There’s not a sentimental second and it’s all the better for it: we never once see her performance falter.
On opening night, Stalter’s interactions with writer Maddie Ballard – the on-stage guitarist and her alleged “ex-wife” – are hilarious. Maddie never really says anything but Stalter thinks everything she does is wrong. She laughs along and it’s fun, so fun, to have someone remind us of the utter absurdity.
At some points, something of a narrative would be nice, primarily for ease of enjoyment. But, of course, that’s exactly the point. Between her reoccurring child-like screams, it is playful but not unchallenging. And a warning: the audience participation is incessant but completely worth it.