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Jill Donnelly: Amnesia and Attempted Murder in Upstate NY @ The UCBT - 5.6.09 

For people who like sad, sappy dramas about comatose patients there's Awakenings. But for those who think it's funny, there's Jill Donnelly's one-woman show "Amnesia and Attempted Murder in Upstate NY." The family and friends of Jane, a hospitalized-amnesiac who has suffered a terrible fall, come together to videotape their greetings and theorize who might be responsible for the victim's bed-ridden state. Donnelly plays every family member, friend, co-worker and neighbor, displaying an impressive range of accents, dialects and mannerisms. Though one should expect nothing less from a woman who began her comedy career after studying neuroscience in college. In 30 minutes, Donnelly serves up 10 characters and costume changes, a Cockney accent, a cloaked nerd, a hyena laugh, the rambling of a 5-year-old, the advice of a pushy doctor and a plethora of sharp-witted jokes. The credit for the meticulously crafted humor is shared with co-creator and director, Amy Flanagan. Donnelly's versatile performance even includes soulful a capella (as the no-nonsense co-worker who takes a moment to serenade the victim), melodious piano playing (as the explosive Southern recluse with five first names) and a montage of song parodies on the keyboard. So whodunnit? The silent husband is a suspect, as is the resentful and jealous sister Karen, who calms herself by slapping her thighs and shouting to the beat. But the victim's son, a college freshman and wizardry enthusiast, speculates that it was an accident, and looks forward to the day she can tell his friends about what it is like to be half-dead. With unexpected laughs and macabre surprises, Amnesia and Attempted Murder serves as smelling salts to even the most unresponsive brain. 

For people who like sad, sappy dramas about comatose patients there's Awakenings. But for those who think it's funny, there's Jill Donnelly's one-woman show "Amnesia and Attempted Murder in Upstate NY."

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