It seems there’s nothing like fatherhood to make a man take stock of his life—to look back over all the adventures he’s had, all the things that have helped to shape him into the man he is today and wonder, “What can I possibly pass on to my kid that’s of any use whatsoever?” That’s the comically self-deprecating thread running through David Mogolov’s solo show There Is No Good News, currently playing at The Red Room.
Through a series of stories told on a mostly bare stage, Mogolov takes the audience through his worry that, when faced with what to tell his child about the world, he will only be able to say that one eponymous line. But, what sounds like a dour depiction of the world, is actually a pleasant, witty and, at times, very funny 45 minutes that sees Mogolov range from the manic rant of a recovered meth addict speaking to Mogolov’s high school to pointed observations about Bernie Madoff and the financial crisis.
Mogolov’s strength is his slick wit combined with an effectively dry, rapid-fire delivery that gets the audience deep into a joke without their necessarily seeing it coming. The effect is more pleased chuckles sustained throughout the piece than loud bursts of belly laughs, but the thinky-ness of Mogolov’s humor is the heart of his piece’s charm and carries the piece during Mogolov’s more limited character impressions. This piece works when Mogolov is speaking as himself and leading the audience to his message about the state of the world that is much more uplifting than the title would suggest.
There is still room for There Is No Good News to develop. There are moments where the transitions between topics seem a little shoe-horned in (a riff on U2 is the most glaring example of this) and there are times when I felt like I was just hearing a series of stories instead of a cohesive narrative echoing a larger theme. But Mogolov is charming and capably directed by Steve Kleinedler, making the supposed absence of good news an enjoyable proclamation, after all.