The "Stuff" gets going
The script falls short but Jonny McGovern's performance as "The Gay Pimp" and other over-the-top characters is fabulous in "Dirty Stuff."
By CARAID O'BRIEN
Over the past two years, Johnny McGovern has built himself a collection of personas and a reputation as one of the most popular solo artists on the downlow
hipster theater scene. He has appeared at Surf Reality, The Piano Store, Nada, Dixon Place and Caroline's, and his drag performance
in "Chocolate Puddin' Returns," chronicling the life of a fallen blaxpotation star, was a long-running hit at Nada Show World and the Pure Pop Festival
"Dirty Stuff," his one-man show now running Sunday nights at Fez, includes appearances by several McGovern characters in addition to Chocolate Puddin' Lurlene Famous, a trailer-trash superstar wannabe; Zarzuffa, a pill-popping Eurotrash clubster; shy, closeted Jimmy and his alter-ego the oversexed Velvet "Gay Pimp" Hammer.
|Written and performed by: Jonny McGovern.|
Directed by: Courtney Munch.
Related links: Official site
Running just over an hour, this show is cleanly directed by Courtney Munch. Lights flickering, three beefcakes emerge on stage as part of the Jonny
McGovern soccer team and strip down to G-strings in anticipation of the star's arrival. McGovern, a cute and wiry white boy in a "gay pimp" T-shirt and
jeans, takes over. An electric and polished performer, McGovern is a joy to watch he moves seamlessly from character to character and keeps the focus of the audience at all times.
The characters each have their individual moments and their lives careen in a fabulous, over-the-top fashion show at the evening's end. Lurlene runs away
to New York from Texarkana after stealing Choclate Puddin's fake Chanel bag and becomes a regular at a drag-queen night club. Chocolate Puddin' runs
right after her. Jimmy and the Velvet Hammer go out dancing and Zarzuffa prepares to debut his line of club couture to convince his parents he is actually working and not just partying in the Big Apple.
The high point of the evening is when McGovern kicks into song, revving up his performance into true superstar style. His Weird Al rewrites of pop songs are
hilarious his best writing is here. His other material for the most part is less compelling. While his characterizations and vocal range are impressive,
the script is too superficial to be truly engaging. But one can imagine that McGovern, a prolific (three shows in New York over the last two years) and talented artist, will soon see his writing catch up with his gifts as a performer if a sitcom doesn't pick him up first.
|APRIL 5, 2001|
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