Written and Starring: Garrett Allain. Directed by: Jeff Bouthiette. Music Direction: Robbie Ellis. At: The Buena at Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway. Tickets: PrideFilmsandPlays.com: $25. Runs through: Dec. 30
Garrett Allain stars in his autobiographical one-man show Altered Boy, at the Pride Arts Center. The show dodges and weaves through his coming of age as a gay man in Louisiana and the Catholic Church.
Garrett has a strong sense of the things that made him who is today. He explores the racist, sexist and anti-LGBT messages he received along with the pro wrestlers that he lusted after to his eventual coming out. He also has no problem making fun of his ego as an actor and performer, which seems incredibly honest.
To keep things interesting in a one-man shownot always an easy featGarrett is all over the stage and even embodies several characters, from a cheesy Christian New Age evangelist to a female receptionist at a religious switchboard. He also does some subtle acting and body movements to separate three different characters in a thrupple relationship. He literally jumps into the audience several times.
There are clever ways of presenting this information from songs to characters to confession. The lack of a linear storytelling is a strength of this piece but at the end it's part of the weakness. The very last segment, about his current sexual attraction, is hilarious and in your face; however, the show ends feeling unfocused. It needs a stronger button on the end of the piece to pull it together. The audience is confused about the show being over.
The other issue is the title of this show. It suggests this show will be about being a gay Catholic and/or might even be about sexual abuse. It is partially about the former and not about the latter at all. Being a Catholic is a big part of his story but it seems the show is really about growing up in the South ( with its specific culture ) and coming out of the closet. Selling it as something about being Catholic is probably limiting the audience, and is misleading.
However, overall, there are laughs, things to relate to, some clever storytelling and an enthusiastic actor/comedian .