Dig & Be Dug: The Gospel of Lord Buckley
The Nazz: Fishes and Loaves. Photo by David Kraft.
BOTTOM LINE: Why see merely a comedy club act when you can get the goods all wrapped up in a bit of history in this, the coolest, hippest, swingingest story told?
Dude, can you dig it? I can. If what you dig are kick ass impressions of Louis Armstrong, Morgan Freeman, strong characters similar to those of Fat Albert and Fast Times At Ridgemont High, all done by a guy who’s not bad on the eyes who can sing like a Motown angel, then this one-man show is for you.
Ryan Knowles has embarked on telling the tale of Lord Buckley, an upper-crust British cabaret man from 1960's NYC who spoke the Gospel (yes as in the bible) by turning it into the coolest, hippest, most out there, diggin’ stuff of truth, man. This cat sang stories of creation, of Jesus (“the Nazz”) multiplying bread loaves and fishes to enough Wonder Bread and canned tuna to feed all of Woodstock, of the devil and MUURRRDDDEEERRRR, but he snapped it cool and in the times, yo, so all the kids were hip to it.
Knowles has some great stuff here – but it’s clearly an early workshop piece. There are some crisp and amazing moments and unbelievably crystal clear characters, but the piece loses momentum towards the end as Knowles drops the character bit when revealing Buckley’s last few months. Regardless, the piece is full of some high energy, neck popping performance and is well worth the $18. I personally can’t wait to see it again in its next life.
(Dig & Be Dug: The Gospel of Lord Buckley is part of the Planet Connections Festivity and plays at the Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street. Remaining performances are June 12th at 9:30pm and June 15th at 7pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at www.planetconnectionsfestivity.com or by calling 866.811.4111. Proceeds from this production benefit CITYMEALS ON-WHEELS NEW YORK.)