Metro LA, May 31st – June 13th, 2005

New – Recommended
By Chelsea Brewer

Who knows the 7 dirty words by heart? Raise your hand proudly. I only know about 5 of them myself but I guarantee you Lenny Bruce knew em’ all and then some. I imagine he probably made up some of his own. These fantabulous words are now onstage at Theatre 68 where Ronnie Marmo portrays the legendary little cuss in Lenny’s Back (and Boy Is He Pissed).

It’s present time at the cemetery in the beautiful San Fernando Valley where Lenny is resting in peace (at last) and up he pops to do one last gig in front of a dead studio audience in a simple but clever set of a graveyard containing some of Lenny’s new neighbors watching him in action. On a side note; mannequins freak me out especially when they double as ghosts. But it’s OK, they do not come to life. And to compliment the set with light design is Danny Cistone’s method of ever-changing effects to move right along with Lenny’s topics and moods.

Writers Sam Bobrick and Julie Stein have channeled the feisty spirit and brought out his colors (no matter how off they were back then). Lenny talks about everything he misses in life from shows to drugs to his beloved mother and ex-wife. Marmo’s interpretation is strong and entertaining to watch. He knows the lilts and nuances in his speech and is dressed to a tee in Lenny’s trademark raincoat, ready for the police to take him away.

Direction by Charlie Brill is wonderful, allowing Marmo his own special moments. Lenny’s hankering for free speech was a pinnacle for such comics as George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Let’s face it: bad words are $%&*ing funny. Lenny told it as it was by just talking about what was on his mind. To experience this freedom of expression, you really should make a *$@%ing reservation.

Ed. Nt: Ronnie Marmo has a terrific rapport with his audience. He recognizes every kind of reaction instantaneously with great flexibility and with an uncanny sensitivity that made Lenny Bruce so darn infamous. Remarkable!