Review by: Shayne Dukevitch
As the “Off-Broadway of Grand Rapids,” Actors’ Theatre likes to keep its ears to the ground when it comes to what’s happening in the real off-Broadway… the one in New York City! Fortunately for us, we have Shayne Dukevitch, our corespondent in the big apple, seeing shows and reporting back. Here’s her recent review of The Accidental Pervert.
Andrew Goffman’s one man show The Accidental Pervert, currently running off-broadway at The Player’s Theatre in New York City, is not a show for the faint of heart. A personal story chronicling Goffman’s own past struggles with porn addiction, it is raunchy, lewd, shocking, and brutally honest – which is what makes it such compelling theater.
Right from the first scene the audience is propelled into the middle of the ignominious life of a porn addict. We observe Goffman watching one of his cherished XXX-video tapes for a starling, if hilarious, introduction into his secret world. It’s enough to set most of the audience to squirming in their seats, accompanied by titters of uncomfortable laughter. But just when the absurd scene is about to really get out of control, he turns to the audience and declares, “Ya know, none of us starts out to be a pervert.”
From there Goffman goes on to try and explain himself, revealing how at the age of eleven he come across a box full of ninety-six porn tapes his father had left behind in his closet after his parent’s divorce. Left alone in his house for a few hours after school each afternoon, young Andrew had taken to watching the tapes every day. The images he observed while still too young to understand the difference between sex-fantasy and reality, skewed his outlook on intimacy and women to the prurient side and made it difficult for him to relate to real girls his age. This alienation continued on into his twenties, dooming the addict to a series of one-night relationships that never seemed to live up to the images he found on screen at home. The pattern persisted until he finally met the right woman – his wife Maria – and their relationship helped him to pull away from his addiction.
The Accidental Pervert is full of hilarious stories of dirty fantasies, bad behavior and embarrassing experiences. There are the obligatory references to twisted porn film titles, and a few tongue-in-check dream sequences that leave the audience shouting with laughter. In the end though, it is the play’s heart that keeps it from spiraling into a hollow piece of shock theater. Goffman’s sincerity and genuine decency make him completely relatable, so that by the time he starts talking about his wife and baby girl, you’re completely on his side. He doesn’t pull punches – he’s honest about his past and the distorted ideas he once held about women. But he’s also a man who clearly loves his wife, and who understands that the porn stars he used to fantasize about are someone else’s little girls. The Accidental Pervert is ultimately a story about reformation and the power of love, which makes it a surprisingly uplifting night of down and dirty theater.
Under the careful direction of Charles Messina, Andrew Goffman gives an excellent, brave performance geared for laughs. He handles his difficult subject matter with just the right balance of humor and gravity. The Accidental Pervert takes a rousing, honest look at a concealed world that challenges the audience to move beyond self-conscious eye-rolling so that they can better understand the heart of a guy gone wild. It’s fun, insightful and uplifting; an impressive piece of theater.
THE ACCIDENTAL PERVERT
Written & Performed By: Andrew Goffman
Directed By: Charles Messina
The Players Theatre
115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012
Reservations – www.TheaterMania.com – 212-352-3101