“There was one little show, however, that caught my fancy. It was called The Banana Monologues and it featured an OVER THE TOP one man solo act that was MORE THAN EXCELLENT! This show was so good that it might just sneak up the theatrical ladder and end up at an Off-Broadway theater next season. Here’s wishing them luck.”
- David Richardson, WOR Radio 710
- Laurie Lawson, The Electronic Link Journal
The piece, which is based on a true life scenario of Mr. Cooper, is a purging of why this relationship happened, why it lasted as long as it did, and how guys can be ruled by their “bananas” over reason, logic, and even emotions. This is not exactly breaking news to anyone, especially straight women, and for the first ten minutes or so my reaction was “ho hum…who cares?” However…this lively little show with actor John R. Brennan as Gus slowly won me over. An energy dynamo, Brennan leaps around the stage, portraying Gus, as well as his “Sergeant,” the hot Alexis, and her buddy Darby in an 80 minute gymnastic ballet that keeps us both interesting and amused. Seamlessly switching from one character into another in a flash, Brennan delivers the humor packed script with expertise of a master monologist, changing his voice and body language like an oversexed chameleon. Watch him dance seductively and flirt as Alexis, then turn on a dime into the stern Sergeant Johnson. I especially like the imagined fight scenes complete with sword fights that Gus has with Darby. Supposedly just a “friend” of Alexis, Gus knows him to be on the hunt for his lady. Squatting in a troll like fashion, Gus makes Darby resemble a character from Lord of the Rings who taunts him on how he will inevitably “I am ETERNAL!” win the beautiful Alexis, come what may. It’s pretty funny stuff, and the sound and lighting effects are fabulous.
Brennan is accompanied by the very clever and supportive lighting of Deborah Constantine and outstanding sound design by Mr. Brennan himself! This is all overseen by Director Debra Whitfield who does a wonderful job of staging this piece, using every bit of the striking multilevel set by Roman Tatorowicz, and making sure that while the pace is elastic, it never drags. And a special hat tip to Production Stage Manager Scott F. Delacruz for making all of the challenging cues tight as a drum.
Though my spousal unit and his male equivalents in the audience seemed to find more to howl at than the more estrogen prone members like me, there was still plenty to identify with for all. Yin or Yang most people have been in at least one relationship with shall we say…limitations? And at the end, Gus comes to learn about himself and realize what he really wants and needs. Growth, it’s a bitch, but in this case, a funny one. Read more...
- Judith Jarosz, NyTheatre.com
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. Read more...
- Ellis Nassour, THEATERLIFE.COM
“Hilarious! Irreverent humor, very funny allusions, and amusing tales! A great comic romp. Don’t bring the kiddies.”
- Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts INSIDER
“A perfect bachelorette outing. Brennan is fairly easy on the eyes and a scamp.”
- Ellis Nassour, TheaterLife.com
“Brennan’s performance is ADORABLE AND IMPRESSIVE! He fully commits to all the roles he plays, including the HILARIOUS personification of his penis as a gung-ho drill sergeant. Watching him work is A PLEASURE!”
- Duncan Pflaster, BroadwayWorld.com
“Derives its humor as much from the ways the characters interact with each other as it does from one man’s rocky exploits in pursuit of love and less lofty experiences. This opens up an opportunity for the talented Brennan to tackle all sides of a typical romance – he has the chops! He draws clear lines between the major players, and flips effortlessly between them as they fulfill their roles in the story. (Gus and Alexis’s more intimate encounters, presided over by the eternally battle-ready Sgt. Johnson, are the evening’s CHAOTIC, COMEDIC highlights.)”
- Matthew Murray, Talkin’ Broadway