December 14, 2018

Theater Review: Shaman Noodles is the Perfect Takeout

 

Lyndsay Hailey’s latest show expounds on her depth and growth.

Despite the long title, Hailey’s Comic Presents: Shaman Noodles—A One-Woman Journey into the Center of Her Own Universe succinctly defines Lyndsay Hailey as performer and a person. The intentions are sincere while being wrapped in comedy and puns. A velvet hammer if you will.

The interstitial that played most predominately in Hailey’s last show, 30% Chance of Hailey, was a gentle lullaby of “It’s awkward if you don’t applaud because if you don’t applaud I don’t know if you like me.” That isn’t a problem here as she’s no longer concerned about approval as much as doing good work. The conceit with Hailey/ was that 30 percent of the show was autobiographical leaving the audience to assume the remaining percentage. With Shaman Noodles, authenticity rules the day.

The thread this time around is the performer’s internal battle between her negative and positive energies while coming to terms with whom Lyndsay Hailey is at present. This would normally be caution for other shows. Material of that type almost always leads to unwatchable catharsis. Here, we see someone with a kernel of enlightenment after coming out the other side.

That being said, the sketches are unconventional in the best way. Skewering her target while deconstructing her own vanity in the process makes Hailey beyond likeable. Adding her superior crowd work and audience integration makes Shaman Noodles more of an experience than a show.

There is no witty conceit in watching the performer pretending to be a dog with a cone on its head trying to grab a ball. But, she captures the joy and determination of finally getting said ball so well that its overwhelmingly endearing.

The high points are Hailey playing a V-rate feminist version of Tony Robbins at the local Hotel Marriot and an overly-Zen yoga instructor. The dichotomy on display of learning and adapting to New Age philosophy while lambasting them is well-crafted.

Shaman Noodles is everything that is Lyndsay Hailey: Raw, earthy, off-kilter, honest and human. And funny, too.