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Submitted For Your Approval

PIT denizens present their own musical take on the Craigslist phenomenon

Pictured: Jacob Brown, Jared Robinson, Michelle O'Connor and Katie Goan.

Contrary to its title, “Kidnapped By Craigslist” (running one more Saturday at The PIT) just uses the classified ad website as a jumping off point, casting it as a forum for outlandish perversions, desperate personals and missed connections, but only ones illustrating certain human foibles.

But the cast (Jacob Brown, Katie Goan, Michelle O’Connor and Jared Robinson), director (Kimmy Gatewood) and writers (Goan and Nitra Gutierrez) have taken this inspiration and turned it into a show that hasn’t been seen before.

O’Connor, clad in black, hosts the vignettes featuring the other three actors, as a character of her own that is something of a cross between Michelle Pfeiffer and Rod Serling, who provides her own musical accompaniment with a few spare notes on violin, guitar and flute between the other players scenes.

Brown, Goan and Robinson take on some range of personalities, although they’re not wildly divergent -- they don’t become chameleons going from character to character -- but vary their different characters enough to expand the palette in the show. Gatewood juxtaposes them well in some bits where each performer delivers a few lines in succession, Brown as a sleazeball trying to lure women to Foxwoods with him, Goan bragging (seemingly with a male voice) about her sexual prowess, and Robinson as a shuffling Brooklyn galoot (if there is such a thing), a persona he returns to a couple times in the show.

It’s a quibble, but at another point, juxtaposed personal confessions by the same three actors are allowed to overlap, which is ineffective because then some of what they’re saying cannot be heard clearly.

The three co-leads get ample time to showcase different characters within the Craigslist-inspired conceit of the show. Robinson’s best moment is talking about New Yorkers terror-heightened suspicions on the subway; Brown is truly inspired playing a crazy neighbor who wears a pot on her head to ward off the aliens and Goan has a couple sickly funny stories she relates as different characters.

The performers and creators of “Kidnapped,” from the seed of their Craigslist idea, have built a show with a unique style -- like an arch, musical version of “The Twilight Zone,” populated with its own set of lost spirits, all living out their own little tragedies. And the audience has the luxury of enough distance for it all to be funny.

Kidnapped By Craigslist returns to The People’s Improv Theater at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 24 for the final show of its month-long run.




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