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Farewell, My Cucumber



FAREWELL, MY CUCUMBER, at TinFish Theatre. The kitchen-sink approach is the solo performer's worst enemy. It's certainly the biggest strike against Robert Buscemi, a likable goofball who's distilled 30 years of clowning around into this one-man show. Buscemi, who tested much of this material at the Factory Theater's "Shut Up and Laugh!" festival, hasn't sufficiently developed the individual scenes: the show clocks in at just under 45 minutes, and even the most detailed portrait screams out for more depth.

Other than the recorded "deep thoughts" that echo through the cavernous TinFish space during the multiple scene changes in Farewell, My Cucumber, there aren't any apparent links connecting Buscemi's seven monologues. Perhaps that's why he spends almost as much time off the stage as on it; on opening night, these random deep thoughts and witticisms ("I wish the government would admit that bagels are just doughnuts made of bread") provided the show's only surefire laughs.

Yet Buscemi plays the role of the fool well, whether it's a foppish poet who can't resist a nonsensical rhyming couplet or a ball-busting counselor who must deliver the facts-of-life speech to a bunch of hormonal camp kids. Buscemi's slack-jawed Wisconsin yokel in "King of Yardonia" offers the show's biggest revelation: a hilarious mime re-creation of the War of 1812 proves that the lower Buscemi's characters, the sharper his comedy becomes.

--Nick Green

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