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A CurtainUp Review
By Jenny Sandman
Oberzan describes the events of the book, as compared to the events and depictions in the movie, in an eerily accurate Stallone impression. Backing him are three separate movie screens, each showing a very slightly different filming of Oberzan relaying the same words and actions in his 220-square-foot Manhattan loft studio. Most of the charm of this piece derives from the dichotomy between live Oberzan and filmed Oberzan (times three). Each movie version has him with slightly different facial hair, with slightly different movements, with slightly different timing. For example, turning on a light might have a one-second delay across the three screens. To keep up with the various home movies, Oberzan takes his cues from an earpiece.
The show is a literal blow-by-blow retelling of the story, complete with many vacant pauses——an "uh, " "um" or "you know" can turn into a hilarious moment, as you can almost see Oberzan's fanatic fan brain whirring along at high speed, often getting ahead of his tongue. Only a true fanatic would find value in telling us the entire story of Rambo, and his fan love is evident and abundant. Overall, it's whimsical, with several moments of unrestrained laughter.
Things do drag a bit between the laugh-out-loud sections. The best part c comes at the very end, with a fake movie trailer for Oberzan's very real movie homage, entitled Flooding With Love for the Kid (taken from the last line of the book and available as a $10 DVD). In the film Oberzan plays all the characters, complete with costumes and fake moustaches, and again shoots the entire story again within the confines of his studio. It's a sort of extended version of the one-man show. Since Oberzan's doofy characterization begins to wear thin after the first hour, so Rambo Solo would be better if he had heeded the maxim about brevity being the soul of wit.
SoHo Rep's familiar layout has been completely turned around in a very amusing way, but the seating is not the most comfortable. You sit on pillows scattered across a thick shag rug (a few chairs are available if needed), so dress appropriately. These caveats and quibbles aside, Peter Nigrini's design and video are first-rate, as are co-directors Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper. Nature Theater of Oklahoma is one of New York's hottest avant-garde troupes, and this is a one-of-a-kind show.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
In the Heights
Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide