by Heather McAllister · August 18, 2014
Clayton Raithel is indeed “the fucking man!” as he exuberantly exclaims in his one man exploration of kicking depression in the ass, Smile.
Clayton is adorable. His accomplished improv and stand up background shine through as he assumes countless characters, inhabits varied locales, and rips away the emotional band aid of his struggles with crippling depression, all while recounting a failed romance.
Directing team of Rick and Jeff Kuperman set a fast and furious pace that never lets up; the hilarious hour long show flies by. Flawlessly timed sound and video, (also by the Kupermans and Raithel) along with Clayton’s mime skills, flesh out his all too relatable story.
Sharing heartbreak in a charming and hilarious manner, while avoiding being a bummer, is definitely a challenge. To open your heart and pour the messy insides all over the stage, while making us laugh, is a true gift. And yet, while I can understand not wanting to peer too closely into the dark abyss that is depression - we don’t want to encourage the abyss to look back after all - I was ready for more. I’m hoping as Clayton continues to develop this awesome piece, he’ll feel ready for us to share his tears as well as his laughter.
People with depression need to know they’re not alone, and Smile is a brave and honest work. Thank you Clayton, your “Smile” warmed my heart. I highly recommend this show!