In April 1987, this reviewer was lucky enough to be sitting in the Lincoln Centre, New York, two rows from the stage watching Patti LuPone play Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. So what, you say?! Not impressed? Well, I’m sure Ben Rimalower would be – because he has Patti Issues (but in a fairly good way).
Rimalower is a stereotype and proud of it. He lives in New York, has parent issues, is Jewish, extremely and openly gay, loves Broadway musicals, and adores Ms LuPone (and not just from a distance).
Patti Issues arrived in Adelaide especially for our Cabaret Festival, from a triumphant Off-Broadway run.
Rimalower takes the audience on a wild, unabashed journey of his childhood, his biological father coming ‘out of the closet’, falling in love with Patti LuPone singing Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina from Evita, and the profound effect she had on his life. Because of the turmoil he and his sister were experiencing at the time, Rimalower felt that LuPone and Evita were mirroring his life experience.
This is not a cabaret, but an actor’s monologue with lots of heart, tons of bitchy zingers, and a lot of balls. Rimalower is hilarious and touching all at the same time, exposing us to some very private stories and emotions. Most people would probably bottle such thoughts up, but not Ben.
As written and performed by Rimalower, and directed by Aaron Mark, Patti Issues is the raw, gutsy, funny, ‘in your face’ material that American stand-up comics and performers are becoming known for – and it is ideal for this man’s show.
Maybe not a show for homophobes, but this is something wonderful for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and a delight for LuPone devotees. (Someone worth considering for future Cabaret festivals, Mr Humphries?)
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Season: season ended
Duration: 1 hour 10 mins
The Adelaide Cabaret Festival runs from 6 – 21 June 2014