Tom Lenk: Nerdgasm, Soho Theatre, London
Wednesday 12 January 2011
One of the defining features of Tom Lenk's angsty character Andrew in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was his subtly portrayed homosexuality. In Nerdgasm, Lenk's cartoonish one-man show, his gay status is very much out and proud as he camps it up without going down as a cliché.
The partisan crowd in the Soho Theatre studio aren't too worried that Lenk spends more time talking of his love of theatre and only a minimal amount of time addressing the vampire in the room, his Buffy stardom. When he does address it, he does so with a winning self-deprecation that runs through this uneven, sometimes sweet and witty, sometimes slightly syrupy, show.
Lenk's musings on his stint in the cult TV series centre on the comical pictures of him drawn by fans, and the crazed missives written about him on a fanzine website. "He must be a vegetarian his eyes are so close together" one young lady writes.
Comic, yes, but one might have hoped for something more meaty and question marks linger over some of his other anecdotes, too; a yarn about dealing with bedbugs in his New York apartment lacks bite if not charm, and ditto the mutual appreciation between him and his friend Laura Linney.
The love of Linney does at least fall into the titular theme of the show, defined as "sensory overload" after a moment of geekdom. Elsewhere Lenk experiences this with sightings of Daniel Craig and Elijah Wood. Even though this theme is almost totally abandoned after the early part of the show, the 34-year-old performer has outed himself as a nerd and, by so doing, makes his audience at ease with their expectations of him; he's as starstruck as some of them are.
While there are signs of hastily prepared material, reading from notes and some jumpy links, there is a decent cabaret-circuit show in here that some cuts and reinforcements would enhance.
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