Saturday, January 17, 2015

Josh Kornbluth: Haiku Tunnel: ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

There aren't a lot of performers who can walk out onto stage and without explanation launch immediately into a 25-year-old piece. Josh Kornbluth's "Haiku Tunnel," first performed at the Marsh in 1990, is a period piece replete with references to outmoded computer programs and dictation machines, yet we follow along gratefully as Kornbluth explains to us exactly why his dream job is turning into a nightmare. No matter how crazy it all is, we can't help but cheer for Josh and hope he manages to score a few more points with the beautiful lawyer with her tax problem.

The Marsh is re-running several of its hit shows from the nineties as part of its 25th Anniversary Celebration. "Haiku Tunnel," which followed "Red Diaper Baby" and led onward to several Kornbluth classics including "Ben Franklin Unplugged" and co-writing "Mr. Smith Goes to Obscuristan" for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, keeps the jokes coming by giving us characters as alive today as twenty five years ago. We particularly loved his co-worker Clifford's bar story ("Jack, you owe me an apology"), his canine-rich description of the young lawyers yapping around the office searching for billable hours, and of course Bob Shelby's mantra at the end.

How many times has Josh Kornbluth performed this show? They even made a movie out of it. But it still feels as fresh as a (Mike) Daisy. What a delight.

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Haiku Tunnel" Three Stars with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. There isn't a lot to the story, and we don't really grow or learn anything about the character, but the journey is a rich one. The BANGLE is for his priceless reminder of what it was like to format columns on Word Perfect. We love this show.

(Incidentally, the last show that earned a SFTB ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG rating was another wonderful comedy, "Recipe," written by Michael Gene Sullivan, a collaborator of Kornbluth's, and Josh Kornbluth was sitting right across the aisle at that one. Obviously, the man knows fine humor.)

Josh Kornbluth: "Haiku Tunnel"
The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco 
Thu-Sat through February 7 
$20-$35 sliding scale

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