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Little Pussy

nytheatre.com review by Charles C Bales
February 22, 2013

Little Pussy

John Grady in a scene from Little Pussy

A former member of the world-renowned Blue Man Group, John Grady is also a terrific storyteller, with appearances at The Moth in New York City and Los Angeles.

On the heels of last year’s FRIGID Festival hit Fear Factor: Canine Edition, his new one-man show, Little Pussy, weaves together true tales from his life about being bullied. From a California kid who displayed an aptitude for gymnastics (horrifyingly called “Girls’ Sports” on his class schedule) and a young dancer training at the National Ballet School in Toronto, Canada, to the mean streets of New York City as an adult, he’s been picked on too many times to mention.

From youth to adulthood, Grady acts out memories of both his torments and his tormentors. He is a tall, lean man with a bald head and piercing eyes whose performance is appealing and touching. With a grace that befits his background as former soloist with Ballet British Columbia in Canada, his movement onstage is fluid and assured, confident and compelling.

Reminiscent of Spalding Gray (fittingly since Grady was an understudy in that monologueist’s posthumously-produced Stories Left to Tell), Little Pussy uses humor and self-deprecation to relay anecdotes of being singled out for being different that will surely resonate with audience members of all ages and genders.

Grady’s youthful humiliations, though many, have allowed him to grow into a confident performer willing to share his discomfiture for laughs. And there are many laughs in Little Pussy, from a bully who gets his comeuppance on Halloween night here in Manhattan, to Grady’s SoCal teenage buddies who disguised themselves as a drug-dealing gang to scare the beejeezus out of their unsuspecting comrade.

Throughout the show, Grady captivates the audience with his dry sense of humor and droll storytelling, sometimes standing still onstage and sometimes miming movement. This combination of calm and chaos helps the nearly one-hour long performance piece pass by quickly.

Maturing from a scared junior high student taunted by the moniker “Little Pussy” into someone unafraid to stand up and fight for himself and others, the crux of this intriguing one-man show is simply what Grady believes it means to be a man. This is a topic of obvious interest to at least 50 percent of our population.