< PortFringe 2024


Shedding & Shagging – Alliterative Triptych

To learn more about this show, click here.

POSTED 6/30/2024

You never know what you’re gonna get when you go to a Portfringe show. Sometimes you’ll see a production that is beautifully polished, sometimes one that is in development, and sometimes you’ll see a show that just isn’t very good. That’s the beauty of it. But if you’re lucky, on occasion, you will see something really special, like Anna Conathan’s Shedding and Shagging.

I don’t know Anna Conathan. I had never heard of her or seen her perform. I was asked somewhat last minute to review the show, so I had no idea what I was walking into. Two things became immediately clear. First, Anna now lives in Maine and works as a sternman aboard a lobster boat. That’s pretty cool right there. Second, her background as an actor and stand up comic was the real deal. As a performer she had the goods. Those things, while amazing, are not what was special.

In her pre-lobstering days, Anna spent much of her professional career as a Hollywood screenwriter, so it was no surprise that the show was superbly written and constructed. She started with a pseudo-documentary bit in which she cheekily shed her lobster costume in a burlesque style vamp. Hilarious. She spends the rest of the show using lobsters and lobstering as metaphors for living. Her principle construct was the metaphor of traps, citing ten traps we get into that mess up our lives, giving examples of how lobsters might handle those situations better. Brilliant. But cool metaphors and awesome writing are not what made this show special either.

What was truly special about watching Ann Conathan’s Shedding and Shagging was the unavoidable sense that I was in the presence of a woman having a moment. It seemed that divergent strands of her life were being woven together before my eyes. Her long and difficult struggles with the madness of Hollywood, profound physical and mental health problems that were misdiagnosed for years, and finally her rediscovering health and wholeness aboard a lobster boat in Maine felt like a Portfringe Perfect Storm, served up in front of an enthusiastic community who came out to lovingly support her. I ask you, what could be more special than that?

Submitted by Mark Shaughnessy: PF24 Independent Review Team

< PortFringe 2024

Show some support



Tip the Fringe

Donation Added to Cart.

Donation With Ticket Purchase

Add A Donation