By: Binu Paulose
Paul Downs is an irresistible performer to watch onstage. If you've ever seen him improvise at any of the local theaters, he carries with him at all times the energy of a whirling dervish, and a cachet of characters who speak, stroll and sideways glance in the most hilarious of manners.
So to isolate Downs in his one-man show, "The Paul Downs Syndrome," is to isolate his comedic mind and to display it in full, vibrant color for better or worse. Longtime collaborator Lucia Aniello directs Downs, corralling the funny as he sports tight, bright red stretch fabrics to demonstrate high-level art projects at Oberlin College, hosts an MTV Europe show called "Hey Guys!" and invokes everything there is to be loved and hated about Euro Trash as Euro-pop star-sex symbol Tudu.
But Downs is also endearing, as he is able to ground his emotions while playing ludicrous characters, despite every possible absurdity being thrown at them. In one scene, Downs plays a seven-year-old child star named Mikey Starr who faces exploitation at every angle.
In another interesting turn, Downs trots out celebrities in his video bits: He pitches a sketch idea to one and creepily massages another. But for anyone in the audience who saw this show, it should be quite clear that Paul Downs is on his way to becoming a star himself.
- THE PLUG: Don't miss the next "Paul Downs Syndrome," happening THURS, SEPT 23 @ 8PM at The UCBT-NY | $5