IT'S BEEN A WHILE since I've seen as many adults openly weeping as I did on Super Bowl Sunday.
It had nothing to do with football, or that Budweiser ad with the ponies—these tears were from my fellow audience members at a tiny experimental theater production in Southeast Portland.
Hand2Mouth's ensemble-generated show Something's Got Ahold of My Heart activates the waterworks with a few salient observations: Young love grows old. Sometimes love doesn't work out, and even if it does work out, well... not to be a buzz kill, but someday everyone you love is going to die.
"Love" is the keyword here, and the key concept explored by Hand2Mouth's earnest, high-energy, and frequently hilarious new show. (It's not all tears, don't worry.) The 90-minute Something's Got Ahold of My Heart uses comedy, wrestling matches, storytelling, and music to explore the ineffable nature of love. This is no intellectual exercise: Hand2Mouth aims to plug their audience into a sense of connectedness and present-ness, to get them a little high on the weirdness of being alive at all.
The controlled chaos that Hand2Mouth invites onstage is responsible for humor, heart, and brilliant oddness the likes of which you're not going to see anywhere else. Plus, the original songs performed in the show—and the performers' amazing sequined ensembles—are top-notch. It's a fun, often moving show, but 90 minutes is a long time for non-narrative theater: a bit more structure or story would go a long way toward grounding this show's outpouring of pure, uncut emotion.