BOY CULTURE REVIEW: **** out of ****
I was excited to be invited to see Patti Issues, a one-man show by and starring Ben Rimalower and directed by Aaron Mark, at the Duplex—but I had no idea what I was in for.
It wound up being one of the best shows of this nature that I've ever seen, confidently performed, sensitively written and as funnier as it gets.
Centered around its creator's lifelong obsession with Patti LuPone, Patti Issues veers from hilarious, surgically precise observations of what it means to be a fan to painful remembrances of Rimalower's dysfunctional family life thanks to the histrionics of his self-centered gay birth father. Rimalower folds these two aspects together beautifully, occasionally incorporating Evita lyrics to sharpen focus on what he's up to. There were several moments when someone in the audience couldn't help but erupt with a knowing "ah!", all of which were smoothly acknowledged by the performer, who charmingly seems to know exactly when he's in the middle of one of his better lines.
A possible highlight would be Rimalower's devastating but reverential impersonation of LuPone, with whom he eventually worked and who has seen and approves of his tribute. But it's hard to choose. Paternal power bottoms, Sicilian divas, Kramer vs. Kramer custody battles—anything goes!LuPone's "Meadowlark" from Les Mouches is Ben's Rosebud
From the most vivid description of a 1979 TV commercial for Evita on Broadway that you're ever likely to encounter to the inspiring realization that one needs to follow one's passion in order to find true success, Patti Issues—like LuPone herself—never disappoints.Rimalower's fandom helped Patti's Les Mouches performance get a CD release
Lucky for you, Patti Issues was just extended. Check the dates/times on the image above and get over to see it. Be sure to say hi to Rimalower (whose surname rhymes with a sex act that Marge Champion might or might not have done) afterward, but don't tell him that you enjoyed his salute to the second-best Eva Peron in history—I already did!