Above:David LeBarron in The Chronicles of Steve: The Bossy Bottom
The New York International Fringe Festival descended onto the Big Apple with an impressive lineup of compelling productions from up-and-comers and established theater talents alike. Since 1996 the two-week festival has thrown the spotlight on alternative theater from around the globe. As North America's largest multi-art festival (run mostly by volunteers), Fringe NYC also serves as an incubator for future hits -- previous years have included Urinetown and Debbie Does Dallas -- garnering critical acclaim and packed audiences. With more than 200 shows strewn about lower Manhattan, this year’s fest featured many LGBT productions, ranging from the sexy to the silly to the sublime.
Among the highlights were David LeBarron’s provocative The Chronicles of Steve: The Bossy Bottom. The hourlong one-man show is a frenetic, funny, and raw exploration of loneliness, sex addiction, and contemporary gay life.
LeBarron, a performer with strong stage presence and comic timing, delves into sex clubs, Internet hookups, and cruising at Starbucks. His portrayal of a queen tweaking on crystal meth was unnervingly dead-on; he nailed the disjointed jumpiness and cock-hungry desperation of every tina queen you've ever had the misfortune to encounter. But it’s more than just tricks and giggles -- throughout the show, there are intermittent flashback sequences of a young boy struggling to rationalize the cruel behavior of his violent daddy.
Was this abuse and molestation the seed for the later quest for rough sex and debasing encounters? The journey is nonlinear -- as one character says to a disappointing date, "It’s not you, it’s me. I deserve someone better."