Director: Elizabeth Bennett
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
Molly Brenner was well into her twenties before she experienced an orgasm. Between inept partners, vaginismus, and social pressure; it was a long time, er…coming…for her.
Though Brenner felt isolated and alone in her search for the Big O, it is truly doubtful she was as alone as she felt at the time. But despite feeling like the odd woman out, she did something incredibly brave: she talked about her challenges. Both when she was facing them, and now in her charming and clever sixty-minute show I’m Coming, which this reviewer had the pleasure of catching for its one-night-only engagement at trendy Union Hall in Brooklyn.
After a hilarious opening set from the charming Ophira Eisenberg, Brenner takes the bare stage. She uses no mic, no set, no anything. It is just a woman and her story. And what a story it is! Starting from a childhood obsession with sex through a sex-free high school chapter and into college and beyond, Brenner does not hold back from sharing some of the most intimate details of her personal history. And she does so with charm, wit, and clarity.
There is a confidence tempered by a self-effacing nature in Brenner’s delivery, at a pace that keeps up a clip without feeling rushed. One can sense the rehearsal work between Brenner and director Elizabeth Bennett was highly collaborative, working in service of sharing the most engaging story possible with the audience. And in the case of the Union Hall show, this was achieved with great success (though there may have been a few moments where Brenner’s tendency to lightly smack her lips before a new thought got a tad distracting). The crowd, at full sold-out capacity including SRO, lamented audibly at Brenner’s plights and cheered enthusiastically at her triumphs. One patron went so far as to compliment one particularly funny line to Brenner during the show, which she folded neatly into the performance, no doubt thanks to the strong conversational foundation she has created with this performance.
More a standup show than a play per se, there is no design to critique, no tech to mention (particularly as Brenner went mic-free for this performance). There is simply a woman telling her story on a stage. In 2020, there is no doubt this needs to happen more often, and one can only hope that as it does, the storytelling is as compelling and entertaining as it is in the hands of Molly Brenner.
Reviewed on 12 January 2020