Critics' Reviews of Pat in Underneath the Lintel:

                Major Newspapers Have Raved:


St Paul Pioneer Press

"Veteran film and TV actor Pat O'Brien delivers a "wow"-inducing solo performance as a tightly wound librarian obsessed with finding the scofflaw who returned a book over a century late. His exciting, absorbing and exhausting portrayal drives a detective story that's constructed like a Rube Goldberg machine, one action triggering another until we've traveled much of the world with this fascinating character as he finds both liberation and a form of madness. O'Brien and author Glen Berger deftly draw you into an odyssey that ends up being about something far deeper than collecting an overdue fine." 

-- Rob Hubbard


London Free Press

"Patrick O'Brien takes a London Fringe Festival audience at the London Convention Center for a performance of Underneath The Lintel, by Glen Berger, on a hilarious romp around the world in search of a miscreant book borrower.  But roll into the quest life's regrets, loneliness, and an obsession to leave a mark in the world and you've got a bittersweet comedy. O'Brien's is a riveting, near flawless performance that pulled the audience to their feet for a standing ovation.  It was an award-worthy performance and it's no surprise this show was voted best solo show at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. This show should not be missed."  Five out of Five Stars.

-- Joe Belanger

Best of the Fest

Orlando Sentinel

"Spellbinding.  And yet, the ingredients are not the usual witches' brew: A pair of trousers; a laundry claim ticket; one extremely overdue library book. It's this last item that begins the journey of the librarian, who we meet as a fussy, obsessive man.  These are the traits that jolt him out of his insular world on a globe trotting quest to track down the borrower of a book returned a hundred years late.  What he finds instead is - at the very least - a whole new reason to live. At most, it is proof of the existence of God. O'Brien does full justice to Glen Berger's script and puts every frayed nerve on display - often to great comic effect. But there's much more than just comic timing to appreciate here.  Keeping up with O'Brien on his breakneck pace through history, philosophy, and myth may require a seatbelt and a few extra brain cells besides.  It's worth it."           Todd Caviness

"A triumph of virtuoso acting" 

Dallas Morning News

"This years most distinguished out-of-town guest for the Out of the Loop Festival is TV and film actor Patrick O'Brien.  His performance of the one-man-play Underneath the Lintel is a triumph of virtuoso acting.  A nerdy, nervous ditch librarian compulsively chases down  the history of a book that was turned in 123 years overdue.  In his search for what happened, the character stumbles onto what may be evidence that a 2,000 year old legend is actually true.  O'Brien's brave performance couldn't be bettered."     Lawson Taitte


"Bravo, Mr. O'Brien."

New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Underneath the Lintel  is a conventional production by the experimental theater extravaganza's standards. Glen Berger's one-man-play is a straight dramatic monologue delivered with minimal props, thus requiring maximum story-telling skill. Minneapolis based actor Pat O'Brien couldn't be better in the role of an otherwise logical librarian who has come to believe an ancient mythical character might be real.  He has evidence to prove it, including his primary clue, a travel book that was returned to the library 123 years overdue.  As the overwrought, obsessed librarian struggles to piece together the cosmic puzzle, the audience is left to decide if he is on the brink of a spiritual epiphany or paranoia.  O'Brien ended Saturday's performance, which required him to recite reams of dense dialogue at a fevered pace, appropriately wild eyed and soaked through with sweat.  Bravo, Mr. O'Brien."                Doug MacCash


                     And audiences agree:

Audience Reviews from the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival

Fabulous Last Year, As Great This One
by Kale Ganann Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
We saw this last year and had to see it again.  Underneath the Lintel is an amazing piece, powerfully performed.  Although my favorite part wasn't what I was expecting it to be - in the section to our left was a woman who was hooked to this story.  Watching her reactions to this beautiful, tragic and redemptive tale was simply stunning.  At the end, when it appeared as though all was lost and this was indeed mad folly, she began crying softly.  That is the transportive power this piece brings.  One of the best, both this year and last.

Saved By Marvin Joel RubinFollow this reviewer

Rating 5 kitties
In terms of acting, he's the principal, and everyone else is a student.  A great show.

Like everyone else...
by Shelley Hanson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I was going to title this review "A Tour de Force" until I read some of the other reviews and saw that many already called it that. Nevertheless, that is the apt term for this incredible feat of acting, in an incredibly imaginative and unusual play. THIS is the reason I go to Fringe -- to see something like this that you really can't see anywhere else.

by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Gave my first standing ovation of the fringe.  Thanks to everyone who recommended this show.

Tour de Force
by Nathan Curland Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Unbelievable non-stop solo performance.  Pay attention or you'll miss something.  Where is it going? Where will it end? What will you learn?  Are you kidding?

so engrossing
by Debra Ripp Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I have a confession, I have seen this show before but it is sooo fantastically engrossing that, like a really good book, I am willing to invest myself all over again. Pat O' Brien's sweaty energy is amazing, not once during the whole hour and some minutes does he attempt to rest or even sit down. This restless, and sometimes insane(!) energy keeps the viewer totally sucked in! Also the story writing itself is wild in how it connects the dots in a very willful way. We want to read into the clues as the character does, without hesitation, and draw the natural conclusion that the character eventually discovers. The dramatic depth present in the culmination of clues and the character's identification with the clues deeply satisfying and poignant.

Go for the acting
by William Beeman Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This performance is a tour-de-force by Pat O'Brien, who has perfected his delivery in a number of venues before the fringe. His timing is impeccable. His pace frenetic, his diction perfection. His voice modulation is really a lesson for any performer. I was dazzled by this play. I must say that the play about the search for a mysterious library patron who turns out to be a major mythic figure (at least in the mind of the hapless librarian who seeks him) is based on a wonderful premise. It doesn't quite know how to end itself, however, so O'Brien must put an actor's button on what is ultimately a kind of cop out. However, no one will be disappointed in this show. It is profound and as said, an artistic masterpiece of acting.

We're here because we're here...
by Fringivitis Vulgaris Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A small-town librarian travels the world tackling the mysteries of myth and belief.  He is wise in the ways of looking things up, foolish when in pursuit of a fact, and hungry for Mystery and Truth.  This is a mystery of the finest kind: the detective is obsessed beyond reason and the quest transcends time and space.  Pat O'Brien never stops!  His delivery is grand, his fumbles barely perceivable, and his Librarian utterly believable.

by Kristi Lawless Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Pat O'Brien is so talented and captured my attention from the beginning to the end. This took my emotions on a roller coaster ride.

Don't cross this librarian
by Rick Treece Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Brilliant characterization and a fascinating script. The author's notes provided as a handout at the end are worth taking and reading.

simply fantastic
by grace butler Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
how much is there really to say that hasn't been said? if you don't see this, you're missing out on one of the greatest one-man shows ever to grace the fringe.

Powerful Presentation
by Mary Lundberg-Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show is worth much more than Five Kitties.  The story quickly advances from that of a librarian and an overdue book to an intense study of life and its meaning.  The show was powerful and moving and was well deserving of the standing ovation it received.   We were spellbound!

A wierd guy with OCD loses it! INTENSE!
by Amy Sheppeck Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
You know people like this guy. You do your best to stay on his good side because he can be really mean if you break nitpicky rules he deems critically important. Naturally you try to comply but inevitably you do something else that sets him off. He makes everyone he encounters uncomfortable and has no friends.
Eventually an obsession takes over his life...we are witnesses as a man who is "not quite right" loses all sense of reality.  O'Brien gives an extremely intense performance which is sometimes difficult to watch. There were moments I found myself forgetting I was in an audience watching a show. Go see this if you want to experience someone who embodies the character rather than just acting a part

Actor 5 KITTENS… with 20 Mittens
by Miniapple List Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Wow, a powerful performer. I heard so many rave reviews from those who attended the first night, it just had to be a must see. The story is fun to follow and the one-man-showmanship puts in the energy of three actors. I give the actor 5 KITTENS… with 20 mittens, but wish the story was more interesting (to me) which I must give 4 Kittens for the overall rating… very entertaining.

Great storytelling, great acting
by Jan Shaw-Flamm Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A wonderful reminder that great storytelling used to be the primary form of entertainment--and some people got extraordinarily good at it. Very impressed with Pat O'Brien, and the show gave a lot to think about.

by Jenni Schmidt Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Underneath the Lintel is an important reminder that you don't need special effects, a large cast, and pop-culture references to create great theater.  Pat O'Brien takes a deeply affecting script and a box of props and Just wow.

Underneath the Lintel
by Richard Hovel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The script is rich and skillfully conceived and written. Mr O'Brien's performance is compelling and powerful. He inhabits the character with such intensity and authenticity that one is totally convinced that the story he is telling is truly his story. A touching, thought provoking show that should be a Fringe Festival "must see".

Great thought-provoking show
by Jareesa Tucker Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I came into this show expecting to just laugh, but left really pondering so many of the themes highlighted in this show. I was both entertained & inspired. Great show & definitely one to see.

Riveting, spellbinging...
by David Norris Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is one of those shows that you walk away from feeling incredibly lucky and wondering if there really is a God for it making it into this festival (what with the luck of the lottery). I went on the recommendation of several friends and a number of positive reviews, with the expectation of enjoying it—and have rarely been more surprised. O’Brien kept me on the edge of my seat and practically grinning throughout until I got sucked into the story and forgot he was acting. I was also not expecting it to get as engagingly philosophical or as profoundly moving as it ended up being and for that I wish there were a few more kitties to tack on. The script was tight, to powerful effect, with not an extraneous element out of place that didn’t come into play later. And it was so much fun watching O’Brien’s performance—dynamic but understated, almost like a magician. This may be my favorite show of the Fringe.

by Chris Friedlieb Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
excellent show, excellent actor.  He really puts it out there...

Almost Unbelievable
by Larry Ripp Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I have seen this show before.  I have marveled at the energy Pat puts into it each and every time. Today He did it again and I can only stand and admire. Ideas, Fun, Sadness and adventure are all blindingly presented with crystal clarity in an almost perfect show!  You go in expecting something special and then you get even more.  Standing ovation today for Pat and oh so rightly so...

Ahab Meets the Wandering Jew
by Paula Nancarrow Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
And I have met this man before, this man with an obsession, whose date stamp contains within it all history, the man who insists scraps of evidence are clues, and who pursues them though everyone else around him thinks he is crazy. Who cares. This is a beautiful interpretation of a intense, fierce work. I have to admit that the myth itself ("the anti-Semitism inherent in it, the insult it offers is to all that is good in Christian theology") distracts me, has me arguing with the premise. But this bright, obsessive-compulsive Lucifer of a librarian compels me, draws me in. It is the sort of show you want other people to see, the show you would see again, to take them, so you can know it, and discuss it, together. Drop off your overdue library books first. But go.

High energy show is fun, thoughtful
by Hazen Markoe Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Pat O'Brien turns in a wonderful performance as a librarian who tries to learn the identity of a patron who turns in the Mother of all late books!  In parts, funny, thoughtful, and wondrous, this show is a high energy romp that entertains from start to finish.  Definitely a must-see.

by Bill Stiteler Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A story of literary obsession, mystery, and missed chances, "Lintel" is a wonderful one-man performance of a human being slowly disintegrating. Recommended.

Phew! What a ride!
by Anna Knaeble Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This was my first show and the one I was most excited about after seeing the preview at "Fringe-for-All #1. I was not disappointed. However, he speaks very fast, so sometimes it was harder to follow, but the content is rich with connections and twists and turns and energy. One of the best!

Great perfgormance!
by feesh ette Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Like other reviewers, this was one of my favorite shows last year. This is only one of two Fringe shows that I have gone to see more than once, and it didn't disappoint.

Great Theatrical experienceby Michele TeichroewFollow this reviewer

Rating 4 kitties
I heard great things about this show from other people, but knew very little going into seeing it, it was  from its start very entertaining and right away engrosses you into the story of The Librarian's (Pat O'brien) quest to discover the owner of an over-do-book. I never knew one show could do so much and try to explain the way the world works as well as the possibility of things we feel are to fantastical to be real. One of the greatest theatrical experiences I have ever had, Pat O'brien is a joy and perfect in this role.

Passionately performed
by Chet Taylor Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This was one of my favorite shows last year @ the Jungle, so I wanted to see it again this year in the round.  His performance was just as compelling.

Underneath the Lintel
by Cindy Lindau Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show was a terrific start to my Fringe. I was swept up in the Librarian's manic search for the mysterious A. from the start. I am a sometime researcher into my family history, and found the Librarian's triumphs and disappointments as he uncovered clues and made connections real and keenly felt.

Go see this show.

Even better the second time around
by Scott Jackson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Last year I rated this show the second best among the 30 I saw. This year the story and acting seemed even richer, more complex, and more affecting. This is definitely an 'exploding onion' show, one that reveals more layers the second time around. A must-see.

Underneath the Lintel - step out
by janet johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Don't miss this show.  Hilarious to watch this eccentric librarian go crazy in his search for . . . what.   Gives you plenty to think about and most likely something different each time you think about it.  Have fun and don't miss out and be where you are.

Impressive performance
by Will Weisert Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
It's always a delight to see an actor totally immersed in their role and even a greater joy when that role is in a well conceived and written vehicle.  Patrick O'Brien inhabits his character, transitioning effortlessly from humor to pathos.  A definite must-see.