Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Carlin Home Companion Review

A Carlin Home Companion
Performed by: Kelly Carlin
Theater: Santa Monica Playhouse

    Following in the footsteps of one's parents is a natural part of life. Despite what some may think or do, we all eventually end up like our parents in some respect. For some, this transition is easy and welcomed; for others, it can be incredibly painful and drawn-out. Regardless of how you feel about it, you are who raised you, and Kelly Carlin was raised by George and Brenda Carlin.

    A Carlin Home Companion is a one-woman show by Kelly Carlin, daughter of the late George Carlin. In it, Kelly recounts tales of growing up in a household filled with drugs, brilliance, strength, turbulence, and love. The show is approximately two hours long with a brief ten minute intermission. Kelly takes advantage of the smaller theatre to create a strong connection with her audience and seemingly looks every person in the eye. Throughout the show, Kelly uses a video screen to show videos of her father at various points in his career and then adds context to those bits by providing the audience with her take on life in the Carlin household at that time. 

    Kelly is a natural born story teller with a very distinct voice from her father that needs to be heard. With that being said, the two hours flew by and, like many people in the audience, I didn't want the tales to end. Kelly shares the stories in such a natural way that it feels like she's talking to friends, and in a room full of people who grew up idolizing her father, she was. Kelly delivers a compelling performance from beginning to end that will make you laugh and cry (there is a strong chance you will shed a tear). You may enter the theatre a fan of George with an interest in Kelly, but by the end you will also be singing the praises of Kelly.

    Finally, a brief word of warning to any artist or aspiring artist: This show will make you question your own motivations and likely cause a great deal of personal reflection. Kelly talks a lot about not being sure what to do in her own life and having to follow your inner voice until finally reaching that pinnacle moment in life where you are happy with who you are. I cannot imagine a painter, a comedian, a writer, or an actor who will leave the show not questioning where they are in life and how they can get to that next level. It truly was something I will never forget.

"Carlin Home Companion" Sizzle Reel from Kelly Carlin on Vimeo.