Dan Hoyle’s solo show, Each and Every Thing, enjoying its East Bay debut at The Marsh in Berkeley, is 75 minutes full of insight and humor. Directed by Charlie Varon, Hoyle’s one-person performance focuses on the search for personal connections in our crazy world of fake news and Facebook. Hoyle combines his talent at character portrayals and physicality with his perceptive observations about many facets of modern life, including how our current fixation on digital media separates us from what used to be normal human interaction.
Dan Hoyle’s material emanates from his conversations with his friends as well as the strangers he goes out of his way to meet along the road. His talent is obvious from the diversity of personalities he plays, such as his good friend Pratim, who advises Hoyle to travel to India in order to find intelligent conversation in a coffee house. Then there is Manny, the divorced depressive, whose wife met an old boyfriend on Facebook. The drug dealer, See Know, who at 23 has been in a coma, a wheelchair and stabbed, is also memorable.
Dan Hoyle, who is the son of Geoff Hoyle, the intellectual clown and performance artist, has been honing Each and Every Thing since its San Francisco premiere in 2014, which he developed with the assistance of Charlie Varon and Maureen Towey. Now, after traveling around the U.S. with the show, and adding some new material since the late lamented presidential election, he’s back in the Bay Area. He performs an even more polished version of his witty commentaries — from his growing up during the Reagan years reading the newspaper and having his television viewing severely restricted — to needing a digital detox weekend to cure his smartphone habit. In the very funny bit at the detox center, Hoyle portrays several different phone addicts, and unfortunately, we can see a bit of ourselves in all of them.
The 75-minute performance goes by very quickly, too quickly in fact to catch every word spoken by every character. I would have liked to have seen more about Trump and current politics, but there are many comedians who do that well, and what Dan Hoyle presents is more conceptual and original. Each and Every Thing presents a rare combination of extremely engaging and witty commentary, with a substratum of deep substance underneath.
The Marsh, with a branch in San Francisco as well as in Berkeley, refers to itself as “a breeding ground for new performance.” It specializes in presenting solo shows and in helping writers, comedians and actors develop their material. The Marsh has several classes where students can write and hone their craft. It’s a great venue for novice and experienced entertainers to work.
Each and Every Thing is playing 8 p.m. Fridays and 8:30 p.m. Saturday nights at The Marsh, 2120 Alston Way, through Aug. 25. For tickets ($25-$35 sliding scale, $55-$100 reserved), information, and extended dates visit www.themarsh.org or call 415-282-3055