Review: "Aberdeen" Searches for Some Priceless Advice
Written and performed by Cassie Workman
Presented at SoHo Playhouse
15 Vandam Street, Manhattan, NYC
January 30-February 11, 2024
|Cassie Workman. Photo by Brett Boardman.
Aberdeen, a poignant solo show packed with striking verbal imagery from award-winning Australian comedian, writer, musician, and performer Cassie Workman, ascribes a similar feeling of closeness to Cobain's fans as a group not long into the show's thunder-and-rain-steeped opening. The sounds of a storm function not only as a pathetic fallacy in tune with the performance's themes but also as part of its evocation of the titular city, Cobain's hometown. This production of Aberdeen is part of the 2024 International Fringe Encore Series, an annual event that showcases emerging artists who show exceptional talent at each season’s fringe festivals. This year's International Fringe Encore Series runs through February 11th at the SoHo Playhouse, and the full schedule is available here.
|Cassie Workman. Photo by Jake Bush.
Depression and suicide, probably unsurprisingly, loom large in Aberdeen, which probes them with sensitive honesty and scintillating artistry. Whether addressing the feelings of betrayal that Cobain's suicide engendered or the tempting clarity that suicide appears to offer someone; remarking on the cultural debt that we owe Courtney Love; or imagining God as a janitor in the drab purgatory of rehab and Aberdeen timber as making up part of the structure in which Cobain died, the expertly crafted show captivates. Changes in the rhythm and lighting and a larger structure of crescendo and decrescendo that echoes the tension and release of music like Cobain's keep the form endlessly interesting and ensure that the audience undergoes an emotional as well as poetic journey. Workman is an immediately gripping storyteller, judiciously mingling moments of levity with the darker subject matter and periodically delivering lines directly to an audience member in the front rows as if imparting something vital, creating a brief yet intimate bond like might occur between fan and performer at a concert. The choice is yours, but (really) don't be late for your chance to experience Aberdeen.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards