The Exploits of Sergeant Johnson, a.k.a. Banana, Abound in
The Banana Monologues
By: Ellis Nassour
The 80-minute [no intermission] solo relationship comedy The Banana Monologues, A Penetratingly Funny Show about Love, starring John Brennan and directed by Debra Whitfield, loosely-based on Tales from the Relationship, the book by Jason Cooper (a.k.a Gus Weiderma), opened last night [June 24] at Theatre Row’s Acorn. A more apt title would be Tales from the Relationship Jungle! Or War Zone! That way Banana/ Sergeant Johnson’s military combat penetrations could also be explored.
Brennan is a personable and energetic performer literally jumping, often quite excitedly, all over and up and down Roman Tatarowicz’s spacious set on a stage some Broadway theatres might envy.
This is very light and a bit too often repetitious fluff. Don’t confuse it, as you are suppose to, as a companion piece to the quite clever Vagina Monologues. However, from the squeals heard among avid younger females in attendance, Banana Monologues would make a perfect bachelorette outing for the six-to-nine inch heelers.
All told Banana Monologues, which began at Charleston’s Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festival and has been presented at other festivals, is the tried-and-tired story of the universal conflict with the ups and downs of a particular male body organ, is supposedly derived from "a true love story about a man, a woman, and his – well, if you haven’t gotten the "joke" by now the laugh’s on you. Whenever Gus (Brennan) attempts to split from his girlfriend, "Sergeant" Johnson, says Gus, stands firm.
Brennan, a Charleston, SC, native, is founder of the improv troupe, The Have Nots!, and an alumnus of Chicago’s Second City and New York’s Uprights Citizens Brigade. He’s fairly easy on the eyes and a scamp of a spokesman for the sex jokes – some R-rated, but never as offensive than anything on TV’s The Big Bang Theory [wonder if its fan base gives much thought to the title].
Responsible for all the tales of relationship ups and downs are Cooper, a pharmacist, who’s one half of rock improv group, Doppelganger, and keyboardist/guitarist in Weird Science, an 80’s cover band; Mary Cimino, director and an artist-in-residence for the SC Arts Commission (who wrote Lilita, which toured U.S. and international festivals); and Brennan.
Director Whitfield, also an actress, is co-artistic director of Algonquin Theater Productions and on the board of the Shaw Project. Producing is Gregory Taft Gerard.
Tickets are $69.95 and available at the Theatre Row box office and online at www.TeleCharge.com, (212 239-6200 or (800) 447-7400 [service fees apply]. For much more information and show schedule, visit www. http://thebananamonologues.com