Slash! Oh, Slash! How could you be in this awful show? More to the point, how could you write this awful show?
I had asked to review Slash Coleman has Big Matzo Balls because my colleague, Joel Markowitz, was so enthusiastic about Coleman’s 2007 Fringe production. I respect and rely on Joel’s theater opinions. This show, however, was more misskowitz than Markowitz.
Alternately corny and incomprehensible, and delivered in a breathy, tentative manner suggesting underpreparedness, Slash Coleman has Big Matzo Balls is ostensibly about Coleman’s search for his Jewish roots. (His father is Italian and he grew up in a secularized household.)
Employing the yellow triangle which Hitler used to designate Jewishness as his metaphor (and, believe me, the Holocaust is a pretty dicey way to begin a comic monologue), Coleman becomes a “triangle hunter,” complete with goofy uniform. He treats us to an impenetrable babble of mathematical jargon – his “Jewometry” (most jokes are on that level) – to explain how he will rediscover his Jewishness. He rattles off a series of “halfie” (here spelled phonetically) jokes, in the style of Jeff Foxsworthy. You know you are a halfie if you strip to the waist before playing spin-the-dradle, and so on. He drafts a member of the audience to serve as his Jewish Fairy Godmother.
Coleman drafts members of the audience onto his stage a lot. Two dead-game women played the roles of Jewish Fairy Godmother and convert to Judaism with great panache, and Coleman even had an audience member come to the stage and read a speech while Coleman went offstage to change costumes. This audience member proved the surprise hit of the show, as his brilliant comic timing, magnetic Orson Welles-style voice, and powerful stage presence combined with…oh, wait, that was me he called on stage.
Look, I’m cool with the man-getting-pregnant story; I’m cool with the man-giving-birth-to-a-matzo-ball story, and with the matzo ball giving birth to a sock, and with Slash having a dialogue with the sock, who is apparently from France. Just somewhere, at some point, you have to be funny.
Perhaps Coleman was trying out this new show, seeing what works and what doesn’t. If so, here’s what works:
(1) The rap he does before he calls me to the stage.
(2) Calling me to the stage.
(3) A Hitler joke the sock tells.
The rest – well, all I can say is that it’s one undercooked matzo ball.
- Running time: 55 minutes
- Tickets: Slash Coleman Has Big Matzo Balls
- Remaining Shows: Fri, July 25 at 9:30 . Sat, July 26 at 5 . Sun, July 27 at 3
- Where: Warehouse, 1017 7th Street, NW