The Other Side of Sleep

Owen Egerton brings several of his characters from page to stage in hilarious style

Arts Review

The Other Side of Sleep

Zach Theatre Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey, 476-0541,

Through Nov. 6

Running time: 2 hr.

You don't want to catch Owen Egerton's The Other Side of Sleep just because the man's moving to L.A. for a while and will be co-writing scripts for movies you'll see on a big screen somewhere and then you can say you saw him back in the day. You don't want to catch Egerton's two-hour, video-enhanced show only because his recent novel, The Book of Harold, the Illegitimate Son of God, is as good (note: exceedingly good) as it is, even though the man's literary skills definitely inform the live performance here. You don't even want to grab a ticket to this show because it's directed by Les McGehee, although McGehee's flair for timing and flourish is delightfully evident in the staging of this spectacle.

No, see, you want to attend this show because you want a night of solid, one-man entertainment, because you miss the sort of monologue work Whoopi Goldberg did before she got all celebrified, because you've always wanted a bit more Patton Oswalt in your Garrison Keillor, because you know that sometimes life can get real fucked up and sometimes that is one of the funniest things about it.

Egerton has a small mob of people he's let out onto paper, and now he brings several of them off the printed page and unleashes them right in front of you. The closeted leader of a Christian youth group trying to "rap" with his young charges. The Waffle House Quality Inspector struggling through a meal in god-awful circumstances. The second-in-command of a weird love cult, making a last stand behind the barbed wire of his embattled group's alligator-farm compound. The two Star Wars geeks camping out in a tent in the line for Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The young creative type, living and loving a slacker's life in the ATX until he encounters the fears, the joys, the transcendence of parenthood.

There are a few others, including the interstitial vlogger trying to set a no-sleep record, and they're all (whether intentionally or helplessly) missing a few of their 40 winks. You won't be thinking about sleep other than abstractly during this show, though: Egerton keeps the energy high – and the quality of the monologues often matches these pinnacles – and McGehee's made sure there's no dead air, not even during the intermission in which that vlogger's in the john.

Especially due to the seriocomic depth of the alligator cultist, the gut-bustingly hilarious Star Wars escapade, and Egerton's coining of the Most Outrageous Yet Accurate Simile So Far This Century (you'll know it when you hear it), we happily recommend this show.

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The Other Side of Sleep, Owen Egerton, Les McGehee, The Book of Harold, the Illegitimate Son of God

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