“Born in a remote south eastern corner of Australia’s sheep belt, Randy was destined for show biz from a very young age. Raised in a household without television, Randy’s parents encouraged him to stage short plays and sing amusing songs through dinner. If his performance was of a reasonable standard, he was allowed to join his family for the evening meal…” from the program
Randy is a foam guy with tiny hidden ears (he swears), unblinking bug-eyes, rod-articulated arms and the nervous energy of a Starbuck’s addict. His show is framed as the reading of a serious first novel in hopes of sympathetic feedback. “… I think it might be like an ugly baby I’m looking at through the eyes of a loving mother,” but the nascent author has horrific stage fright. Each time he begins to read, anxiety replaces text with raunchy humor, yelling (too much), wry social observations, and Scheherazadian stories.
Presentations apparently differ depending on the monologist’s mood and the tenor of an audience. (This is an often uncomfortable crap shoot and frankly unnecessary.) You’re addressed/carefully harangued, encouraged to call out, even to shoot photos – flash included. “Apparently I’m very entertaining if you’re high.” Rules are different.
What seems loosey goosey, however, has a firm skeletal interior. Randy riffs on Ernest Hemmingway (including a jam-packed three minute biography) and whether artistic legacy outshines “a tactless, violent life”; the hypothesis that “you only need one book to establish a reputation…there’s not many jobs you can do just the one – suicide bomber? ; enlightenment, Buddhism, and literal inhumanity. “We’re born with 4.4 million non-human genes – I know I said this was gonna be a comedy BUT YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE!”
Reflections on faith, fear, mortality – “We’re stumbling on a tiny hyphen between the words birth and death…” and dietary requirements segue to a marvelous story (for my money, the highlight) about trying to buy a bookcase on craigslist. While some of the show is corny vaudevillian, some is insightful, clever, and well acted storytelling. Randy throws his torso around with eurhythmic fervor fluently manifesting accents/characters. Never free of the need to be reassured, he asks how he’s doing. (Dangerous.)
Our hero is Alfred P. Doolittle-like (My Fair Lady), a dustman/everyman who, just trying to get on with life, “the truth is I’m not exceptional…”, emerges an ontological philosopher. You just have to get through the hackneyed parts and unwilling audience members (this goes both ways) to enjoy it.
Randy is Randy – no actor listed. Nor is there a credited Director.
Opening Photography: Alex Papps
The American premiere of
randy writes a novel
Starring- Randy as himself
The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd
Through June 10, 2018