The Banana Monologues
Review by Sahadev Poudel
The Banana Monologues is a one-man comedy show, performed by John R Brenan and written by Jason C Cooper and Mary Cimino including actor performer Mr. Brenan. He plays a brokenhearted man, Gus Wiederman and retells his side of romantic and tragic relationship story with his girlfriend. By profession Gus is a pharmacist and he falls in love with a pharmacist intern named Alexis, who he describes as a ‘sexy’ girl. Everything goes well until one day Alexis has to move from the current location Charleston, South Carolina to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for three years residency. During these three years, they both keep their long distance relationship lovely using social networks and text messages. Sadly, after three years, the story does not favor Gus. Does this make audiences sad? Do we cry? No. Audiences laugh a lot because of Mr. Brenan’s acting, storytelling crafts and frequent use of profane words.
(Photo Credit http://www.nytheatre.com Carol Rosegg)
Brenan portrays four other characters as funny as possible. He plays as Gus Weiderman, his inner voice “banana’ Sergeant Johnson, who is like his relationship adviser and his girlfriend Alexis and her ‘Guy’ friend Darby. The Banana Monologues roam around these four characters. When Mr. Brenan portrays Alexis, he brings the sexy and seductiveness using body gestures. Similarly while portraying Sergeant Johnson he uses voice and body languages. In a one-man show, showing four characters is not easy job but Mr. Brenan does it well and keeps audiences connecting. Sometimes Mr. Brenan interacts with audiences and asks personal sex and relationship related questions. It makes the audiences laugh and helps them connect to the show.
Mr. Brenan’s performance skills inspired me but the Banana Monologues’ story is not worth retelling. It has nothing new story to offer. Audiences laugh because of its cliche love story. It makes fun of female character; Many of us have tendency to laugh when someone make fun of somebody. It tells the story from a male point of view and seriously everyone might not find that funny. The bill says it’s “a penetratingly funny show about love”. Of course it’s “penetratingly funny” but it does not have an extra ordinary story .It didn’t inspire me and it lacks aha moment. Audiences mostly laugh because of its sexual contents and profanity.
Mr. Brenan uses every part of the stage. He dances, jumps, and moves around the stage and auditorium. Roman Tatarowicz’s set design certainly worthy for one-man show. The lightening is another important part of the show. It helps to bring the dramatic transaction and create mood of the show. In one scene, I feel like I am inside the dance floor. So the set and lights has given life for the show. Deborah Constantine designs the lights. And Debra Whitfield is a captain of the show; she brings these talented crafts together at the Acorn Theatre.
The auditorium was full with mostly younger adult audiences and their laughter. I laughed too but right after the show I forgot all the jokes but Mr. Brenan. It was not appealing to me. In other words, I liked the banana taste but not its shape. If you are looking for expensive laugh you could buy $70 ticket and break your tension and laugh out loud with this show or if you are fan of other one-person show like ANN (funny and worth watching), the Banana Monologues is not for you.
The Banana Monologues
Theatre Row- The Acorn Theatre
Run Through August 30, 2013
410 W 42 St
John R Brenan
John R Brenan, Jason C Cooper and Mary Cimino