Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Geoff Hoyle's "Geezer": ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ !

They ought to re-name the Marsh Theatre "According to Hoyle." Geoff Hoyle and his son Dan Hoyle have both created marvelous solo shows, both of which have hit the Marsh calendar at the same time. Geoff's "Geezer," which has been extended through July 10, is one of those rare theater experiences that will have you laughing your head off while grabbing for your prostate.

Ha ha, no, just kidding. Sort of.

Hoyle is such an intriguing combination of story teller plus clown, mime and stand-up comic. "Geezer" is the story of his life as well as an up-very-close glimpse into the aging process. So how does the Venerable Bede fit into all of this? Don't ask, but Hoyle's twenty second interpretation of The Bede's philosophy is one of the funniest moments of the night.

And there are many. His Mom and Dad in Yorkshire, when he returns home with his American wife, will have you in stitches until you see Hoyle himself as a parent when his own children bring home their friends and he feels it imperative to embarrass them all to tears.

Speaking of parenting, he's right about one thing: "If you cook it, they will come."

And his views of his own Dad, central to his life, are both heartbreaking and incisive. We are spellbound by the U-Boat attack on his Dad in the North Atlantic -- Hoyle Senior is plunged beneath the ocean as we watch him gasping for air -- and in the next moment, Geoff is into a new character with another facial expression and new, unique body language.

The man is a trained mime, clowned with the Pickle Circus for many years and has acted in many Bay Area shows (including the terrific Lemony Snicket show last Christmas), but he has perhaps never allowed us to get this close. "Geezer" will make you laugh and it may make you cry (as it did to the woman in the next seat over). For sure it is first-rate entertainment.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ !
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Geezer" Four Stars with an Exclamation Mark! One star is for writing, another for acting, a third for Woody Woodpecker (what a laugh!) and a fourth for Hoyle's assessment of healthy food: "Who wants to eat carboard and drink rice milk to earn two extra days in hospice?"

The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco
EXTENDED through July 10

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