BWW Reviews: PATTI ISSUES in Richmond
When PATTI ISSUES opened off-Broadway in 2012, Ben Rimalower took to the Duplex stage to tell his own personal story-a story that's as fiercely emotional and heartrending as it is witty and entertaining. Nevertheless, it was his story to tell. With Carol Piersol and Richmond Triangle Players' production of the autobiographical off-Broadway success, acclaimed Richmond performer and director Billy Christopher Maupin dives into Rimalower's shoes, and it works, for the most part.
But Rimalower's story is as much about "daddy issues" as it is about "Patti issues." At the tender age of eight, Ben's physician father ripped the family apart with a rampage fueled by sex and drugs. In dealing with the painful divorce and newfound revelation of having a gay father, the budding Ben found solace in the 5 foot 2 inch Broadway diva, Patti LuPone.
Director Carol Piersol gives Billy Christopher Maupin free rein on the simple but effectual black box stage, to energetically and passionately tell Rimalower's story. A couple barstools and a table provide versatility throughout his narration.
For a little more than an hour, Maupin shows off a range of performance virtuoso, providing distinct characterizations to each person introduced in Rimalower's story. Song after song, he affectionately belts out "The Worst Pies in London" and some of Ms. LuPone's most memorable performances with faithfulness to the pointed intonations and pitches of Ms. LuPone.
While Maupin performs the role of Ben Rimalower with great vitality and animation, the monologue is deeply personal, and for some, would be better reflected through the man who lived through his own PATTI ISSUES.
The show played its final performance April 5 at HATTheatre.
Photo Credit: Jay Paul