Saturday, 29 October 2011
THEATRE REVIEW: John Leguizamo In 'GHETTO KLOWN'
One real stand up guy.
John Leguizamo has always had the talent and charisma to steal the show. Whether it be from Leo DiCaprio in Baz Lurhman's 'Romeo + Juliet', or the T.V. screens via a cameo in the classic medical drama 'ER'. So now the spotlight shines back on him this month as he takes his first love of theatre to the West End in London. John's unique, one-of-a-kind, one man show of stand-up style storytelling and dance has been a hit on Broadway and this Hispanic talent from New York is lighting up London town for 17 brief, but brilliant nights.
The quaint but quintessential Charring Cross Theatre under the underground houses John's performance and beside the passing trains above the venue makes for a perfect backdrop for the coming up, coming of age story of a successful actor. Following stage classics like 'Freak' and 'Mambo Mouth' Leguizamo dives into 'Ghetto Klown'. A show and tell that looks at how he made it in life and the industry of stage and screen. Via some hilarious and homage filled videos John dances his way through the decades much to the audiences delight and his obvious 'B-Boy' talent. As he opens up, this autobiographical piece is personal but by no means selfish. As Leguizamo gives his all to the crowd he interacts with laughs and life gaffes.
No holes are barred here as this versatile talent presents himself at his most valiant and his most vulnerable. John gets up close and personal with the crowd, even dancing among it. From perfect impressions of industry folk to hilarious family stories this actor gives us real accounts with his genuine charisma and charm. From being repeatedly slapped by Sean Penn to being kicked by Steven Segal it's clear this mans seen it all and been through it all. The recurring themes and well thought out one-liners tie all this together as seamlessly as an episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.
This 'Ghetto Klown' talks for 2 hours with intermission, but really all night you could listen to his stories by the talented way he tells them. From shooting Pacino in 'Carlito's Way' to shooting his career in the foot with 'Super Mario Bros' this performance is a hit...you'll die laughing. Still Leguizamo doesn't just tickle the audiences funny bone with his laugh out loud, social storytelling he also touches us with his humble, honest performance. At first you would think it was the work of a great actor, but this great actor is giving us the real him. Hearing about the older generations of Leguizamo's could move you to tears.
Either way there's not a dry eye in the house with these laughs. If you don't make a date to see one of these shows you won't laugh now and you will cry later because one of America's funniest, most stand up guys is getting real theatrical starting right in the West End. Passionate and punchline perfect you better catch 'Johnny Legs' before his 17 day run is over. It's time to direct your attention to one of the best characters and supporting actors in Hollywood as he performs his life script. Stick with it to hear a real story from a genuine talent. Now that's theatre. TIM DAVID HARVEY.