Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don Reed "Stereotypo: Rants and Rumblngs at the DMV" ☼ ☼ ☼

A more musical show than his previous solo efforts, Don Reed's new "Stereotypo" shows us that in addition to his expected humor Reed owns some cool steps and a nice voice to boot.

In his first, and for our money best solo piece, we fell in love with his characters, especially Blinkie, Reed's pre-adolescent self. East Fourteenth Street came alive as we became involved with the interaction of his characters. But there is no interaction here, and the DMV is little but a location the author can use to opine on the downtrodden characters one might find there.

So this story's strength is its weakness -- there is no Blinkie, no sign of Don Reed himself. And we are already familiar with the DMV. It's difficult to imagine how any of his characters, the kid with no arms, the transgender guy, the old Jewish guy, the Indian taxi driver or any of the others, would actually tell Reed their personal stories in that context we know too well, sitting on an uncomfortable bench with head down, waiting for them to call your number.

As funny as some of the bits are -- we particularly liked Alberta, the DMV greeter as well as the armless boy Reed portrayed by crossing his arms inside his t-shirt so only his opposite hands would protrude from the shirt's armholes -- others feel incomplete. The show's finest moments are the dance sequences -- especially the Indian guy with a black girlfriend doing a dance that mixes Jay-Z and Bollywood. This is a brilliant set piece.

And, in a total switch from 99% of the shows we see, Reed gives us a crackerjack ending. Finally, finally, we see the characters interacting instead of standing and delivering long monologues about themselves. We wish there could be more of this throughout, so we could be involved in a real story in addition to Reed's beloved rants and rumblings. We love and laugh with Don Reed, but we're still waiting for another Blinkie.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division feels "Stereotypo: Rants and Rumblngs at the DMV" was treading water until the ending. But the final moments are so good the show leaped above the Julie Andrews Line (see sidebar for ratings explanation). So we are awarding Three Stars. Don Reed is a funny man and he has plenty of material here to give you some good laughs and remind you to pay those parking tickets so you never have to walk into the DMV again.

"Don Reed Stereotypo: Rants and Rumblngs at the DMV"
The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco
EXTENDED through May 23

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