Fringe Review: Shut Up, Emily Dickinson

A tongue in cheek comedy about loneliness, mental illness and perception Shut Up, Emily Dickinson is true poetic comedy. A pseudo-historical, quasi-biographical, psycho-romantic comedic sketch look at the life of – as O’Debra’s script puts it – “the most annoying person ever.” Reclusive, cooky, death-obsessed Emily Dickinson, played by Tanya O’Debra, unsuccessfully woos the object of her affection, a disembodied voice, played by Gregg Bellon whose only interest lies in seeing her “Downtown Abbey” and “stripping her of aristocracy.”

Based loosely on love letters Dickinson wrote to an unknown person called “The Master” – who we learn seems to be tired of her bemoaning as well. “If I were really in the room right now, I’d leave,” he sighs. O’Debra’s animated slapstick, playing the macabre poet is akin to an SNL sketch. The addition of nonchalant ironic props such as an Iphone, lotion and soda cans add to hilarity.

“Emily, you’re so annoying,” the Master says. “You mean, ‘quirky,'” Dickinson quickly retorts.