Sea of Fire, Lifeline Theatre. How is it that some performers, like Spalding Gray, can stand onstage and rattle on and on about themselves, making clear with every sentence that their one true love is themselves–and we hang on every word? While others deliver similarly self-absorbed shows and inspire only yawns and glassy stares?
Kevin McCoy, whose hour-long autobiographical show has the backing of the excellent Robert Mazurek Jazz Trio, is a likable guy, and it’s hard not to feel sympathy for someone who feels compelled to tell an audience of strangers (and friends with comps) just how lonely his life has been. But such onstage confessions soon overstay their welcome, even when they’re broken up with interesting slide shows and video effects.
It doesn’t help that McCoy, who’s been a fixture on Chicago’s non-Equity scene for almost a decade, isn’t a natural storyteller. Or that his monologues aren’t particularly well written or insightful. His best scene in the show, performed while swinging upside down on a rope, is much more impressive physically than verbally. After a while even McCoy seems to lose interest in himself and turns to such topics as coffee, astrology, and Plato’s philosophy. –Jack Helbig