Closing out Philadelphia’s 2014 OutFest, R. Eric Thomas’s updated version of his 2012 hit ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID provides a seamless synthesis of stand-up comedy and storytelling with the narrative structure of a one-act rom-com, while looking at love and marriage with humor and heart. The engaging solo show, directed by Jarrod Markman, maintains a rapid-fire comedic pace, and although the performance is filled with outrageously funny one-liners (“Gays invented brunch”) and asides (“Like all vegans, he’s awful!”), the lovable Thomas never loses sight of his serious message about outsiders, acceptance, and communion.
In just about an hour, Thomas treats the audience to an array of hilarious personal experiences and insights about gay dating, straight weddings, and universal emotions, along with his reflections on disturbing episodes of homophobia and religious hypocrisies that can’t shake his faith or comfort in an all-embracing divine love; he channels Oprah and Annie Hall and consumes huge amounts of other people’s wedding cake, while coming to terms with relationships and equality. If you missed ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID this time around, I expect that this entertaining and relevant offering will remain a favorite part of Thomas’s regular repertoire. [L’Etage, 624 S. 6th St.] October 7 and 12, 2014; http://rericthomas.com.