nytheatre.com review by Chris Toland
John Kuntz is a brilliant comedic actor. He is a performer with
boundless energy and an unmatched sense of comic timing. In the
one-man-show he wrote and performs, Starfuckers!, Kuntz
parades before us a string of unforgettable characters, all
linked by the common theme of celebrity, and our society’s
obsession with it.
August 15, 2002
Relying mostly on physicality and vocal work to bring to life six characters in seven seamless vignettes, Kuntz fills each character with the myriad subtle details of human behavior that are critical to, and, alas, most often omitted from, the now ubiquitous multi-character/one-performer format. It is here that Kuntz, well-directed by Steven Maler, proves himself a talent truly worthy of solo billing. No gesture, facial expression, or line of dialogue ever seems for effect or rings untrue. When we laugh, and boy do we laugh, we are laughing at the outrageousness of these characters, not at a comedian landing a well-polished punch line.
And often, there is more than just a good chuckle. There is also an underlying sadness to Kuntz’ characters: The young actress of questionable talent who will do anything—anything—to land a part in the new stage version of Xanadu; the well-known movie star who has never known true happiness; the extraordinarily well-endowed actor/hustler reflecting with dismay on the way his life has turned out. Don’t be surprised to find a lump in your throat between belly laughs.
In the best vignette, "Pigman," Kuntz really takes the gloves off for a truly shocking depiction of "anything to be famous" that in itself is disturbing, though not as disturbing as the notion that what we’re seeing is not quite far enough from the realm of possibility in a culture that features fathers quizzing young men on national television about sex with their daughters in the name of entertainment.
I couldn’t help but wish that more of Kuntz’s material featured this in-your-face intensity, but if some of his material has slightly less punch, if some moments, like the closing interpretive dance number go on just a hair longer than they need to, there is still no denying that John Kuntz is a smart and sassy performer whose show will give you quite a bit more than your money’s worth. Catch it.