Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach
Sunday 23 August 2009: Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach, Assorted Fruits and Vegetables at TOTS (stage 1) (IFF)
This is a fun piece with not a lot of meat (except in the gratuitous scene at the end). It is credited to Paul Rudnik, but I have seen two reviews saying it was written by Ron Spencer - is Rudnik a Spencer pen-name? Spencer is the principal performer, as Mr. Charles, and also directed himself and James Capps (who plays Shane, Mr. Charles' boy-toy).
Mr. Charles is a flaming gay who is too "out" for the New York scene: he is exiled to Palm Beach, where we find him mentally reliving his salad days and admiring Shane in his succession of costumes. It's a string of mostly effective one-liners that kept the audience fully engaged Sunday night. I like Spencer, and I like the flair that he brings to the show. But, in terms of what turns me on about theater, I give it a B.
Three more performances: Friday at 6:00, Saturday at 1:30, and Sunday at 10:30 (closing out the festival at this venue - I expect it will fill the house).
Rudnik is the playwright of Mr. Charles. Ron wrote Americas Next Top Bottom. With both of them playing in fringe, I think a few people got that mixed up.
This was the only fringe show that we got to see. It was the final performance and it was delightful! This show was all Ron - it didn't seem scripted at all. We enjoyed every minute!