A brilliantly satirical US odyssey


JOEL is both our narrator and our navigator as he takes us down the last leg of his long journey from New York to find the love of his life (who turns out to be Scott in Sausalito, California, for whose love Joel is not quite yet ready), and then on the long trek back to New York where buried parents may be worried and then back again along indigo and purple ways to Sausalito to re discover Scott.

It is a brilliantly satirical and utterly unsentimental odyssey, this journey through America, in which both hilarious and serious cameos are conjured of persons with attitudes referenced often to the movie mainstream of what most people accept as American culture. It may not be a major literary work of theatre destined to survive dramatic history, but it offers considerable insight into the states of America as they are now, and some convulsively funny encounters with a carefully selected sample of some of their inhabitants.

It is foremost a work about American men (even if some of the funniest cameos are of American women - which equates the physical threat of war with that of AIDS. It is this sense of the threat to life which anchors its seriousness: should not the parents facing the deaths of their sons from AIDS deserve the same respect as those who confront the records of their sons' deaths in war at the Vietnam memorial in Washington, and deserve the same sympathy? It is this coherent thread which gives the theatrical fabric its consistency. Yet the expression of that fabric is wildly irreverent and apparently incoherent.

This expression of Godfrey Hamilton's text is, under the direction of Lorenzo Mele for Starving Artists, vested in the hugely energetic and nicely accurate performance of Mark Pinkosh as navigator, narrator and everyone else in the piece. With only black drapes, a kitchen chair and an inventive lighting plot by Douglas Kuhrt, Mr Pinkosh challenges our sensitivities and tickles our senses for 90 uninterrupted minutes of frenetic and honest action on the stage. Appearing only at 9.00pm nightly until the end of this week he richly deserves to be seen.