By Eric J. Grimm
In his solo show, Bright Colors and Bold Patterns, Drew Droege explores the joys and horrors of being a white gay man in 2017, clinging tightly to the fabulousness that comes with forging an identity as an outsider while accepting the new normal of gay marriage. As Gerry, a forty-something queen who is living for the tacky Palm Springs wedding he’s been invited to, Droege swills margaritas, snorts cocaine, and shouts loving tributes to gay icons with his best friend and former lover, Dwayne, and Dwayne’s new boyfriend and ex-boyfriend. All of these additional characters are gestured to, but not seen onstage, and this works to Droege’s benefit as he focuses solely on Gerry’s hilarious and tumultuous journey and appropriate lack of growth as a mostly selfish gay man who’s had to fend for himself for much of his life.
The show is predominantly on brand for Droege, who has had me in stitches for years with his YouTube impersonation of Chloe Sevigny. Here, playing a version of himself, he rattles off rapid-fire popular culture references with a coked-up energy that somehow breathes enough to allow his audience to digest and laugh at his outlandish observations old gay favorites like Olympia Dukakis and new hetero obsessions like Portugal. The Man.
Director Michael Urie has helped Droege nail the pacing, though a montage transition halfway through feels a bit clumsy onstage and more suited to film. Droege teeters on the edge of sentimental with childhood tales of ostracization and his worries about finding love while remaining defiantly gay, but he earns these pauses from breakneck comedy by being vulnerable and truthful about what it’s often like for those who persevered and observe a younger generation that finds acceptance at an earlier stage of life. If the concerns here are largely those of a privileged white gay, they certainly ring side-splittingly and painfully true.
Photos: Russ Rowland
Bright Colors and Bold Patterns runs at SoHo Playhouse through January 7th, 80 minutes
For tickets, visit https://www.brightcolorsandboldpatterns.com.