Like Prince, another diminutive star who looked good in purple, “Randy”– the titular star of the riotous new show Randy Writes A Novel— usually goes only by his first name (A tad of research will reveal that his full name is actually “Randy Feltface”!). Billed as “Australia’s most celebrated non-human comedian”, the bawdy puppet with the egg-shaped face and ping pong ball eyes actually boasts many impressive accomplishments. In between mingling with stars like Neil Patrick Harris and Jane Krakowski, Randy is a permanent fixture on the international stand-up circuit. He makes regular guest appearances on TV in his homeland, where he’s become a household name– even getting nominated for the ACTAA Award (considered to be the Australian counterpart of the Academy Awards) for Best Performer in a Television Comedy in 2015. It was only a matter of time before this offbeat star brought his quirky charms to Manhattan, a place where even a purple puppet can walk (or however he moves around) through the streets and no one would look twice. The Big Apple seems to serve this Aussie very well as a source of fresh material: One hilarious segment during his new show features Randy’s observations on a distinctly New York malady he calls “line rage”: the ready-to-explode tension that New Yorkers develop from endlessly waiting on slow lines. Needless to say, Randy is no ordinary celebrity… and to state the obvious, Randy Writes a Novel is is no ordinary off-Broadway show. From the beginning, our raucous celeb made it clear to the audience at The Clurman Theatre that the traditional rules of “theater” didn’t apply on this wild night of entertainment, which not only welcomed audience participation but demanded it. Hoots and hollers and even heckling were encouraged. A cell phone ringing during the show? No problem! Flash photography? Why not?!
Randy (who, conveniently, also plays his own MC…) knows how to whip the theater attendees into a laugh-inducing frenzy. He’s also not afraid to pull his audience right into the action, as this famous non-human delivers his naughty observations about human nature– complete with his glazed, permanently opened eyes that make him look perpetually excited… or stoned… or both! After the first wave of guffaws quieted down, however, we learned that our plum-colored star was having a bit of an existential crisis. Randy has written a book, named Walking to Skye. Throughout the night, our protagonist expressed his desire to read some passages from that book– but we soon discover that he’s bound by crippling insecurities. Poor Randy is scared of how people will respond to the first draft of his magnus opus. (“One man’s To Kill A Mockingbird is another man’s Twilight saga!” he declares.) However, he is willing to let his audience at The Clurman Theatre (That’s us!) give our opinion. Intentionally or not, every time Randy started to read us a passage, he got distracted either by a rowdy audience member or possibly a case of puppet A.D.D. This turned out to be a comedic blessing, actually, because it allowed the audience to enjoy a seemingly endless stream of the star’s sardonic humor. A talented raconteur, Randy waxes poetic on everything from buying a bookshelf on Craigslist, to the saga of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, to his uneasy admiration of sorts for the brilliant but flawed Ernest Hemingway (“The quintessential antihero: talented, charismatic, belligerent, suicidal, alcoholic genius that can’t keep his dick in his trousers– and yet he still found time to write about 15 books. I’ve written ONE!”, Randy bemoans.) Now, that’s a wide range of subjects! But that’s also exactly why Randy is so irresistible: We believe that this funny feltface can read a tax return form and make it hilarious. Although he knows his way around the F-bomb and isn’t afraid to inspire images of puppet masturbation (Yep!), Randy is far from just a trash-talking cartoon character come to life: Think of him as a more intellectual but no less high-strung Aussie cousin of a cast member of Avenue Q. as he smartly tackles such “heavy” subjects as veganism and Buddhism. Much to the delight of our idiosyncratic leading puppet, Randy Writes a Novel even inspired some lively intellectual discourse among the audience: in this case, the question of discussion was “Is art only art once it’s been witnessed and acknowledged?” Whatever the answer, Randy is guaranteed to inspire an equally lively post-show discussion on the way home from New York City’s famous Theatre Row.
By now, you may be wondering if Randy finally got to read from Walking to Skye. I won’t say…. but I WILL say that Randy Writes a Novel guarantees more fun than a
barrel troop of monkeys and more guffaws than a flock of kookaburras woodpeckers. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, you’ll cheer, you’ll learn what a “rock melon” is, and you’ll leave the theater much smarter than when you came!
Red Spear Productions in association with Emerging Artists Theatre and Laughing Stock Productions present Randy Writes a Novel. Randy Writes a Novel runs through June 10th at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. Visit www.RandyWritesANovel.com for more info, and www.Telecharge.com for tickets.