Sunday, October 22, 2017

Kate Robards: "Ain't That Rich" ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

A comedienne is the Opening Act for Kate Robards's solo show "Ain't that Rich" at the Marsh. It's the usual stuff, breakups, an Uber driver, clitorises and orgasms and so on. So when Robards takes the stage we are expecting more jokes. What we get instead is an insightful look at the meaning and impact of money. In this brilliant one-woman piece, money or no money determines both how the world looks at you and how you look at the world.

Born poor in East Texas, Robards plays several characters from her family. Her mom is treated kindly, the rest of 'em not so much. She takes us on an adventure where the young Texas woman working five jobs to stay in college meets the wealthy boy friend from Berkeley whose father sold his business for "eight figures." She doesn't know what eight figures might mean.

Perhaps unlike any Marsh show we have ever seen, there are many moments of serious reflection. As an audience we flow with her as she shows us how being blonde and rich means you get away with things other people don't. Un-blonde and un-rich, we still end up doing some substantial soul-searching.

There are many excellent bits - "The One-Stop Confederate Store" -- the gold shovel -- and above all, the lies a young girl makes up in order to feel "rich" -- that is, equal to everyone else. "Ain't That Rich" is a terrific show. You don't want to miss Kate Robards.

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division grants Three Stars and a BANGLE OF PRAISE to "Ain't That Rich." For a one-person show to be successful, there has to be a reason for the story. So many solo shows simply chronicle the performer's disability -- overcoming the disease or the bad neighborhood or the personality disorder. Kate Robards makes all of us consider both poverty and wealth --  the gifts we have been given, whether we are aware of them or not.

The BANGLE is for the brilliant set piece when Kate is driving her brother to rehab. Pieces like this make us excited for Kate Robards' talent. We look forward to seeing what she does next.

(One word of advice: You're good. You don't need an Opening Act.)

"Ain't That Rich"
 The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Fridays and Saturdays through December 2
$20-$35 sliding scale

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