Oy! In "Eunice & Ernest's Story Time for Grown-Ups," an older Jewish couple (in Fringe style, both played by men) present a typical preschool story hour with nary a kid in sight.
All the old jokes are there -- Jews are tight with money, their granchildren never call, they never write. You know it's just a matter of time until someone feels verklempt. Although the old-school shtick has its own charm, thankfully there are more topical and funnier bits thrown into the mix. One joke was so edgy it prompted gasps in the audience.
As the gently bickering couple, David Almeida (Eunice) and Alexander Mrazek (Ernie) have a peculiar lovability that keeps the audience rooting for their show to be a success.
It's a show that, like many a library's kids event, relies heavily on audience participation -- telling a comically enhanced version of the story of King Arthur, or acting out 20 different fairy tales in 20 minutes. Both Almeida and Mrazek have the ability to play off the audience and keep the energy level high, even when the material (written by Mrazek) seems a little beneath them.
There's a lot of silliness: Merlin sounds like Dracula, Eunice carries a potato in her purse, who knew King Arthur's Round Table came from a flea market?
Most fascinating observation: In this story time, the adults in the audience behave exactly like your average preschoolers. There's the natural ham, there's the one a bit confused by what's going on. There's even the shy one who doesn't want to participate -- so, of course, gets singled out. That one was me. Oy.
60 minutes, Red Venue, $8, Orlando Fringe Festival official page.