By Michael Reubens
These two one-man shows, one featuring a political satirist, the other a provocative in-your-face story teller are both must see vehicles in the Off-Broadway circuit and for very limited runs.
The very much alive Will Durst in Durst Case Scenario: Midterm Madness completes its run at The Playroom Theatre on November 18th from San Francisco and the long-gone Lenny Bruce in I’m not a comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce, written and performed by Ronnie Marmo and directed by Joe Mantegna is in it’s New York Premiere and accepting reservations until December 30th. Now at The Cutting Room, following a successful run in Los Angeles.
Will Durst on stage with a Mike and overhead projection slides, focuses on Number 45 the current US president, Donald J. Trump. Not since Michael Moore, Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher burst onto the politically incorrect scene – along with Alec Baldwin as the current TV Prez spoof, has the US and the world been entertained with a wide array of comedians and actors eagerly stepping into the Hornet’s nest of dare devil humor.
Durst instills pathos at times, comic relief mostly, as he delves into the mad cap brain of DJT while engaging the audience with a q&a ranging from animal and political preferences, North Korea to Russia, to which form of transport brought the audience to the venue, while references are made to draining the swamp as he feverishly makes notes while proclaiming “He is the swamp” and “Trump has replaced Obama and now, Orange is the new Black…”
Nothing and no one is spared in this 90 minute hilarious stand-up including Hilary, Amarosa, Pence and Sessions.
Over at The Cutting Room space is a brilliant one-man incarnation of the late and some might say – great – portrayal of x rated shock comic Lenny Bruce. Ronnie Marmo brings back the life and death of this raconteur in a somber and reflective style that was unique with this New York performer.
Lenny Bruce was way ahead of his time, telling stories and jokes in the fifties and sixties that, in this day and age, wouldn’t even make a sailor blush but not everyone appreciated his wit and repartee. He was frequently heckled at night clubs and arrested on obscenity charges and imprisoned. His drug abuse and wild lifestyle abrubtly ended in 1966 from an overdose from Heroin.
The play starts and ends the same way – dead on a toilet – as the flashback unfolds, along with dirty words, the value and debate of freedom of speech, religion and the church. As Bruce once said “…please dont take away my words…” It seems that irony and miscommunication were just two of those misunderstood words.
*Durst case Scenario is at The Playroom Theatre. 151 West 46th Street. Manhattan.
*Lenny Bruce is at The Cutting Room. 44 East 42nd Street, Manhattan.
*Both performances run approximately 95 minutes with no intermission.
Below: Lenny Bruce