Roderick Ferguson does not need to be rescued in MAN OVERBOARD !!! à Don’t tell mom
There is something so satisfying about the gaze of an entertainer who has just walked into a nightclub where there are no empty seats. And there weren’t any vacancies at yesterday’s performance of MAN OVERBOARD !!!, a new musical cabaret from comedic monologue Roderick Ferguson. If there is any sense of rhyme or reason in the world, his 7:00 PM TONIGHT (#bighint) performance won’t have any empty spots either. If there is justice in the world, Roderick Ferguson and Don’t Tell Mama booking directors Sidney Myer and Tanya Moberly have already started talks to give the act some kind of extension (#bigint) because MAN OVERBOARD !!! is a genuinely hilarious program based on the real-life experiences of a man who is not famous but who, with shows like this, is expected to be headlining the clubs, cabarets and cruise ships of the whole world.
MAN OVERBOARD !!! (now MO) reads like a comedy special, not like the one Dave Chapelle has so much trouble at the moment, filled with controversy and turmoil – more like an hour-long special that Rita Rudner or Paula Poundstone would have on HBO or Showtime. It’s not about setting up the jokes and making them land, making people laugh in shock or blasphemy, hurting and offending people with undeniably funny but harsh rhetoric. Watching MO is the experience of watching a comedian with a “thing” (and Mr. Ferguson certainly has a “thing”) tell a true story in a way so unique it can only be told by them. The story is also, coincidentally, so personal that it shouldn’t be told by anyone other than Ferguson … himself. With her wide eyes, constantly smiling expression, and very specific cadence and timing, telling stories of her life is up to her voice alone.
Recalling topics ranging from a very strange relationship with his mother to an obsession with monarch butterflies, from a college year hospital stay to a rather public trial, every story Mr. Feguson tells revolves around of two things, and two things only: absolute authenticity and incomparable timing, funny or otherwise. Spectacularly directed by theater icon turned cabaret manager Faith Prince, Mr. Ferguson tells MO’s story to his captivated audience with complete frankness, using all areas of the stage, so as to include every person in the scene. theater, but also welcoming customers into the story with various pieces of one-on-one conversation and continuous eye contact. Never distant or unapproachable, Ferguson is the best version of Story Lady in the public library, beautifully dressed in her fitted costume, singing songs in her best voice, Gay Men’s Chorus, and dancing around the room in a way so silly they would. everyday the person feels a little embarrassed. Not Roderick Ferguson. One of the comedian’s strongest assets is his willingness to appear silly in the name of entertaining his audience, which makes him all the more likable. Combining the gold of comedy which is the mixture of his silliness and timing with an impeccably crafted script that just dives into pathos and humanity often enough, Roderick provides seventy minutes of continuous laughter, perhaps. a snort every now and then, and a true story that touches, astonishes and inspires. Everyone has a story worth telling, but not everyone has a story worth telling on stage in front of an audience. Roderick Ferguson does it.
Performing Arts for MO describes this comedic smash as “The hilarious but moving story of a comedian who fought for same-sex marriage in a small island nation,” so there are no possible spoilers in the story. description of Ferguson’s deed. This is, indeed, how Roderick became the face of a lawsuit that challenged his hometown of Bermuda to embrace marital equality (or, at least, legalize it). It takes Ferguson about thirty minutes to come up with this story, but it doesn’t matter because the first half of his show establishes a base that informs MO’s primary purpose, a base that is extremely important to the ‘entire production (not to mention wildly entertaining), and, throughout, Mr. Ferguson complements his comedic monologue with seven or eight musical interludes (cleverly arranged by Beautiful Bobby Peaco and performed by Magical Michael McAssey) that did not always the impression of advancing the story, but that, deliciously and deceptively, to do. The intertwining of songs (sometimes just song clips) is an essential part of Roderick’s style of storytelling. The singing voice is interesting and pleasant, but it is not a voice that can sustain a seventy minute cabaret show; luckily, the script MO, Prince and the two assistant maestros Roderick created a precise level of musicianship that elevates Roderick to the heights in his show, ultimately acting in full service, not of Ferguson, but of the story told. In doing so, Team Ferguson also acted in the service of the public, the real winners of the MAN OVERBOARD !!! to live.
There should only be more audiences for Roderick Ferguson’s new show – hopefully tonight, and hopefully more nights at this club or any club that reserves MAN OVERBOARD !!! in their season because it is definitely a sight people should see and enjoy. And that’s a direct recommendation, not a #bigint.
See Roderick Ferguson MAN OVERBOARD !! at Don’t Tell Mama on December 5th at 7:00 p.m. by making a reservation (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, AS ON TIME ARRIVAL) on the DTM website HERE.
THIS is Roderick Ferguson’s website.
Roderick Ferguson gets a five out of five microphone rating for performing his entire show without using a lyrics sheet, tablet or music stand.
Photos by Stephen Mosher