KPBS AIRDATE: March 18, 2005
Boys will be boys. Right now, you can get a bellyful of jerks, weirdos and overgrown adolescents on San Diego stages. The self-proclaimed jerk is in “The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron,” an often-hilarious one-man show about how men are hard-wired for idiocy. A lot of their nasty habits and unconscionable acts toward women are, says engaging actor Miles Stroth, directly traceable to their sexual member. Isn’t that where the male intellect resides? Well, the hapless character in the long-running show thinks so; he’s just been dumped by his fiancée. Now he’s trying to figure out What Women Want, and to find balance between his messy, analytical, beer-bellied left brain and his pathetically undeveloped, emotional right brain. There are no great new insights here, but the 90-minute monologue shines a comical spotlight on human behavior of the unfathomable, intergender kind.
At least Bobby is trying to figure it all out. Murray, on the other hand, thinks he’s got it right. He’s an irresponsible, unemployed adult who celebrates serendipity and disdains the drudgery of unfulfilling employment. This would be fine for a solo solipsist, but he happens to have custody of his precocious 12 year-old nephew. And his eccentric, if amusing, non-conformity has attracted the attention of the Child Welfare Board, which is threatening to put the boy in foster care. Some of the funny stuff in Herb Gardner’s 1962 comedy, “A Thousand Clowns,” is somewhat less amusing these days. But amid the nonstop one-liners, there is a message, about compromising your personal integrity, that’s very relevant indeed. The North Coast Repertory Theatre production, directed by Ralph Elias, is a hit-and-miss affair. It isn’t as funny or as poignant as it should be, but there are some earnest and engaging performances, notably 13 year-old Henry Metcalf, who alternates as young Nick. The production doesn’t have the New York edge – or accents – the play demands, but the spectators howled nonetheless.
The youthful audience goes wild for “Bat Boy, the Musical,” currently having its local premiere at SDSU. It’s a weird concoction: a campy, rock amalgam of “Tommy,” “Dracula,” “Hedwig” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a sci-fi send-up based on a 1992 story in the tabloid Weekly World News. Seems a half-bat, half-boy was found in a cave in Hope Falls, West Virginia. He’s taken in by a local veterinarian and raised as part of the family. But he’s a bit of an outcast, what with the fangs, the pointy ears and the thirst for you-know-what. The Off Broadway award-winner is really a goofy creation; but it’s getting a terrific production, under the knockout direction of Rick Simas. The singing, acting, sets, costumes and lighting are spectacular.
When you boil it all down, these are all quirky coming-of-age stories. C’mon guys, grow up already!
©2005 Patté Productions Inc.