Cancer: The Musical

If this original one-act were available now as a DVD on Amazon, you'd likely find user reviews all over the map. Is it revealing, heart-wrenching, and daring? Yes. Is it self-indulgent and occasionally too precious for its own good? Also yes. Montana von Fliss' solo performance meanders from tongue-in-cheek responses to that fateful diagnosis (the example here being her late father), to outrage and helplessness, before concluding with something akin to a group hug. Von Fliss is no oncologist, but she's shrewd enough to know that you can't deal with something this weighty without first winning the audience over with a few clever gags. That accomplished, she begins to spin one yarn after another about Dad. The songs are little sonic sketches, really—some with an indie edge, others cut more from emo cloth, but all simply extensions of grief and its multifaceted aftermath. Director John Osebold's staging is also deft enough to make von Fliss' acrobatic leaps from comedy to rage appear altogether organic—and that's quite a feat, considering how quickly this 90-minute show moves. KEVIN PHINNEY

Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: June 3. Continues through June 21, 2010

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