Friday, July 11, 2008

Neal Medlyn's Unpronounceable Symbol

Photo/Steven Schreiber

One thing's for sure about the Neal Medlyn: dude's got balls. Don't take my word for it: just wait until he's dancing in his underwear on a table that's writhing with dildos and you'll see them. I'm unconvinced that gyrating half-naked while screaming falsetto lyrics makes for good theater, but at least with his Prince spoof, Unpronounceable Symbol, Medlyn's taking on someone who has soul and androgyny to spare. Then again, Medlyn seems unsatisfied with riffing on Purple Rain and B-sides like "Erotic City" and "Jack You Off" (the latter delivered with an almost evil Elvis twinge), so he plays up the Messiah and those Watchtower-loving Jehovah's Witnesses, too.

Medlyn plays both halves of the tragic love story, Jerry and Neal, and if that doesn't give you an idea of how fractured the act is, consider that Jerry, in fit of jealous rage, tries to kill Neal with a killer cum shot. Thankfully, Kenny Mellman (keyboards) and Neal's sarcastic, deadpan nemesis, the drummer Bob George (Carmine Covelli), neatly frame the absurdity, without ever limiting Medlyn's energy. (His semen won't undergo transubstantiation on its own.)

The problem is that unreeled acts like this, eccentric to the max, don't have much of a range beyond the camp crowds that delight in Rocky Horror-like antics. To be fair, they really can't: what Neal does is as undefinable as Prince's symbol is unpronounceable. But if you're not a member of the Nerve-loving, gender-curious "experimental" youth demographic and can't identify a downtown "luminary" like Murray Hill, then you've probably got no business at this show.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Ha. I work with that guy. I didn't know he was a performer!