Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.
As part of UNFringed Festival at the Secret Theatre of Long Island City, Queens actor/writer Andrew Martin is performing a one man autobiographical show entitled “An Appetizing Yarn” because, during his show, he sits knitting a cap and a shawl.
The show is a long monologue about his mother and father and grandparents and their history. His mother was a beautiful WASP and his father’s parents were Jewish; also part of the family was Aunt Lena who was deaf but was never taught sign language. His father’s mother and Aunt Lena lived in a big tenement on Delancey Street and his description of his mother’s first visit there is very funny, with his grandmother talking to her and insisting she call her “Mamie,” not “Mother.”
At his parents’ lavish wedding on Long Island, they were treated to a honeymoon suite at an elegant hotel. But just at the point of beginning to make love, the phone rang and one of the grandmothers had been able to purchase a wonderful travel package to Florida immediately! So they packed up and flew down there. They ended up having a wonderful honeymoon but his mother got sick on some of the rides. All of this is told with funny lines and impersonations of the family!
It wasn’t till years later that Andrew’s mother got pregnant and did not know she was carrying twins until about ten days before their birth, Andrew’s sister who was born very small and Andrew, who was big enough to be taken home. A big event in Andrew’s life was learning to read from watching Sesame Street on TV and being able to read the TV Guide at age 3! Suddenly, he became the kid genius, paraded out to read to all the family’s guests.
His father’s business in restaurant supplies made him relocate to Philadelphia but his mother didn’t like Philadelphia and moved back to Long Island City. Watching the Tonys and seeing a clip from “Runaways” with kids in the cast, Andrew becomes infected with Broadway show tunes and buys an 8 track player which he stocks with Broadway shows. He also enrolls in a Music Camp on Long Island City.
To please his father, Andrew joined the boy scouts at 11, wanting to get a badge in cooking!. But there is a harrowing incident with a camp counselor that haunts him for the rest of his life. There is also the constant bullying by another big kid which finally causes Andrew to smash him with his 8 track player. His response when he is called to the bus manager is defiant and victorious.
We are continuously entertained by Andrew’s stories as he works on a knit cap and although he stops the story when he is 20, it’s hard not to want to see the next chapter performed by this skillful singer/actor/playwright!
“An Appetizing Yarn” repeats Saturday, August 22 at 9 pm and Sunday August 23 at 5 PM. The Secret Theatre is located at 44-02 23rd Street not far from the L and E train stops at 24/Court Square and the theater is 2 blocks away. For further information go to www.UNFringedSecretTheatre.com