"Fruit Fly" at The Cherry Lane Theatre
Written and Performed by Leslie Jordan
Directed by David Galligan
Reviewed by David Roberts, Theatre Reviews Limited
There is nothing like a romp through an extended metaphor when Leslie Jordan has created the trope. Mr. Jordan’s brilliantly funny “Fruit Fly,” currently running at The Cherry Lane Theatre as part of The All for One Theatre Festival, extends the identification between Jordan and his mother Peggy throughout the ninety-minute extravaganza of ethos, pathos, and sheer hysterical fun.
Leslie Jordan’s testimony to the terror, trials, and triumph of coming out works because he makes it clear that he “has been there and done that” and challenged all things maternal and nurturing: boy choirs, boy camps, boys in general, and his poor mother’s frustration at understanding some of those escapades. Jordan’s appeal to authority and experience works.
“Fruit Fly” also appeals successfully to the audience’s emotions: the well-constructed script takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster and just when Jordan has the audience practically falling off their seats in raucous laughter, he quickly appeals to the depths of human emotion and holds the audience in the palm of his hand of sadness and grief. He does this so skillfully that one promises oneself not to fall into the rhetorical trap again only to be seduced into his charms yet another time.
Leslie Jordan’s authenticity and generosity of spirit make it impossible for anyone to be offended by any of the humor used as he tells story after story from his rich and varied life. It would be unfair to reveal the content of the solo performance. However, be prepared to hear true tales of growth hormones, teenage adventures at drag clubs and “off limits” clubs, younger twin sisters (Jordan only remembers one of their names), a beloved father who died at an age far too young, a mother with hysterical blindness, and escapades in Atlanta that would make the most seasoned LGBT ticketholder blush.
The question of whether gay men become their mothers might or might not be answered with certainty in Jordan’s exhilarating performance. The question of the meaning of the title, however, is answered with the grace and charm only Leslie Jordan could summon. After sailing with Leslie in the recent past on an all-gay cruise to Alaska, his mother and twin sisters (the only straight women on the ship) determined they wanted to be “fruit flies.” You must see this solo performance soon to discover why.
Presented by the All For One Theater Festival, Inc. at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Written and performed by Leslie Jordan. Directed by David Galligan. Lighting design by Graham Kindred. Sound and projection design by Christopher Jensen.
“Fruit Fly” will be performed on Saturday September 22nd at 7:00 p.m. at The Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, NYC, (west of 7th Avenue South, 3 blocks south of Christopher Street), and accessible via the A, B, C, D, F and M trains to West 4th Street or the #1 to Christopher Street. Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased online at afofest.org/tickets or by phone at 212-352-3101 or in person at the Cherry Lane Theatre Box Office. For more information about the All For One Festival and a schedule off all Festival performances, visit AFOfest.org