I admit it, I had my reservations walking into the KC Rep’s first, of three world premiers of the season in David Cale’s Palomino (now through November 15th at the KC Rep Copaken Stage.) Not that I was worried it wouldn’t be any good, I just wasn’t sure how well a story about a carriage driver turned gigolo by chance meeting would be as a one man show. As soon as Cale took the stage on Saturday evening my reservations were put aside as I was drawn into the story about five minutes in.
Cale is a one man show veteran, this is his seventh production as such and he truly is a remarkable actor and story teller. His turn as each of five characters who cross paths with the main character, Kieren McGrath, at various times is outstanding. The Irish born carriage driver has a female passenger named Marsha who offers him several thousand dollars to accompany a friend out for an evening. After the first evening goes well, Marsha soon becomes a frequent visitor becoming his ‘pimp’ until their relationship sours as McGrath goes it alone after a couple of successful ‘dates’ with a widow .
The stage setup is about as bare as they come, Cale spends most of the time on one stool that is flanked by one other stool and a hat/coat rack in the corner. Aided by unobtrusive sound effects and fantastic descriptions, the lack of scenery quickly melts away as your mind fills in the blanks, thanks to Cale’s scene descriptions that transfer you to the locations. It was easy to feel like I was staring out the window of an 18th floor condo in New York, or laying on the beach as the waves rushed in. I was really amazed at how well it came together and worked.
The whole show reminded me of a Tarantino film with the sharp outstanding dialog that is shared between each of the characters, the way that their stories cross paths, and the occasionally skewed timeline that things are presented. The Rep has closed the balcony at the Copaken theater to help keep the intimacy level of this show there. Thus I recommend getting tickets sooner rather than later to this outstanding show.
By John Coovert
Palomino has performances Tuesday through Sunday through November 15.
For tickets to Palomino or any other KC Rep production visit www.kcrep.org or call 816-235-2700