Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
Randy is a globetrotting vegan from Australia making headlines with his stand-up comedy. Randy also happens to be a purple puppet, who wrote a novel, that he would very much like to share with New York audiences at Theatre Row. A one-puppet performance, Randy commands the stage for anywhere from seventy to one hundred minutes depending on where his dialogue with the audience takes him. Whether one has a short or long evening with Randy, they are bound to have a fantastic time.
Randy immediately dispels the concept of Randy Writes a Novel as a traditional play and encourages laughter, applause, heckling, and replies to his rhetorical questions. Interactions with audience members are impeccably tuned, with frequent callbacks and running jokes made up on the fly. Randy uses these interactions to fuel the shape of the evening – with this particular case covering Hemingway, Harper Lee, jilted husbands bent on property damage, veganism, technology, and water slides as motifs of the night. For another audience, perhaps none of these subjects would be covered. Everything Randy does is ad-libbed and mostly laser-specific (though anyone doing a solo show with no set script is bound to meander from the point here or there; Randy keeps it to an impressive minimum). It is fascinating to witness not only the quick-wittedness of Randy, but also the specificity of movement with every word. Though Randy is clearly a puppet, the humanity he brings to the piece allows one to easily forget that he isn’t as autonomous as he charmingly appears.
In addition to big laughs and impressive physical technique, Randy Writes a Novel is a show with a lot of heart. Randy encourages the audience to ponder language, technology, fear and the meaning of art, and he does so in a way that feels human, messy and complicated. The tonality of emotion that Randy achieves as auteur of this play is impressive. Part play, part stand-up comedy, entirely unique, as Randy himself puts it, the experience is a singular one that is better lived than read. Be sure to get tickets before the show closes on June 9th for a chance to explore dirty joke-peppered semi-existentialist stand-up… with a puppet.
Runs until 9 June 2018 | Image: Chris McDonald