Writer & Performer: Kevin James Doyle
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
One may not necessarily expect a show featuring expletives and references to sex to take place in a house of worship, but Kevin James Doyle’s The 30 Year Old Virgin does just that. A recording of a live performance that took place at St. George’s Church in Manhattan, this eighty-minute comedy special contains material that would likely make the devout blush… and give everyone a good laugh.
Doyle takes the audience on his journey leading up to his first sexual encounter at age thirty, as well as through the misadventure aftermath of the encounter. Recounting childhood memories, a broken engagement, therapy sessions, conversations with “The Donut Man,” and meeting people on the subway, Doyle’s tale is both specific to him as an individual and a universally tangible representation of life in (pre-coronavirus) New York City. There is true vulnerability here, as well as self-awareness and perspective on the part of the storyteller. Laughing at Doyle’s mishaps carries more a sense of camaraderie than schadenfreude. For the duration of the show, the audience are treated more as a circle of friends then a roomful of strangers to be addressed. Doyle has a great talent for making the entire experience personable.
Taking the show online, it is the intimate nature of the show that suffers, and ultimately may be challenging for a home viewer to overcome. Recordings of live performances, particularly standup-style shows, is always difficult. Charming as the stories are, there’s a sense of distance from the energy onstage and in the room. There has been an addition of a pre-show opener and some chapter headings between sections of the show that were not part of the original performance, and they don’t particularly serve the online streaming version of the show. While the opener has a degree of charm, the chapter breaks interrupt the flow of Doyle’s narrative. He is a dynamic storyteller, and there is no doubt he could (and likely did) handle these transitions live onstage with aplomb, so it’s more a disservice to the show as a whole to break the natural flow with title cards.
The 30 Year Old Virgin is a charming performance that carries a great deal of honesty and wit, and Kevin James Doyle is a compelling storyteller. Setting aside the superfluous transitional bits added in post, this one-man show is certainly worth a stream.
Available Online | Photo Credit: Jeremy Stanley