About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    One Man Rambo: Live on Stage

    By kyle | March 23, 2009

    A review of a wacky-sounding one-man show called “Rambo Solo” happening in downtown New York now: a guy is acting out “First Blood” for your theatrical pleasure.

    Mr. Oberzan’s character — for ease I will henceforth refer to him as Rambo Nut — has plenty of time to kill, and maybe some emotional problems too. He wants to share with you his boundless admiration for Mr. Morrell’s novel, which he believes is superior to the movie version. Like many a talky youngster with a feverish affection for a life-changing experience (mine was the movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” incidentally) Rambo Nut believes the best way to transmit his joy is to narrate the plot in precise detail, scene by deathless scene, image by image, as if describing for the blind each shot of a movie endlessly playing on a screen in his mind.

    That movie’s not just in his strange psyche, actually. In addition to experiencing Rambo Nut’s monologue in person, you watch it unfold simultaneously on video. Projected onto rumpled white sheets hanging from a clothesline behind Mr. Oberzan are three homemade movies of him performing the same mad spiel in the cramped confines of a studio apartment.

    In the movies he huddles under a towel in the bathtub to simulate Rambo’s resourceful escape from his pursuers by lying at the bottom of a river, or crawls under his futon to evoke a scramble through thorny bushes. The camera chases him back and forth through the tight space as Rambo Nut recruits various household items for prop work. When it rains on the hero, the faucet in the kitchen sink is turned on.

    Topics: Books, Broadway, Movies | No Comments »