On Second Thought
nytheatre.com review by Ryan Nicholoff
February 25, 2009
A one-man show sometimes sparks fear in the hearts of avid theatergoers, as we have been duped into so many by either requirement or false billing. Sometimes they can be indulgent, self-serving, and downright embarrassing. On the other hand they can also be inspiring, cathartic, empathetic, and hilarious. On Second Thought, written and performed by Paul Hutcheson, is definitely in the latter category. Hutcheson, a Canadian from Toronto, takes the stage elegantly and warmly from the top of the show. He immediately creates a nice connection with the audience and breaks the fourth wall which is a very comfortable convention for the kind of show that this is.
He launches into subject after subject, talking about his family, about how his brother used to goose him with his car, which somehow twists its way into a comical tale of his first skydiving experience with his sister. On his quest for self-actualization it seems that Hutcheson has been through some pretty interesting if sometimes harrowing experiences. We find him in Australia on a tour with a macho guide who chastises him for his less than alpha male lifestyle choices. This leads to him and a companion getting caught in a kangaroo stampede in the Outback.
Some of his best work though comes in the scene when he has a job that takes mentally handicapped people to do everyday jobs. This one in particular is landscaping. This is where he does his best character work and the situations are outlandishly delightful. Later we find Hutcheson working in a video rental store, with an adult section. No need to say anything else about it. Not to mention that the finale is an almost unbelievable curtain call.
The thing that is the most touching about this show is what it's all about. A man who happens to be homosexual and dealing with the sociological factors that other people have to deal with about that. Hutcheson is not complaining. He is merely dealing with his life and the people around him who aren't able to understand who he is. It's not about gender issues, it's about individuality, and all of the issues that are involved with that: your parents, your siblings, your bosses, your lifestyle choices, your fetishes, and your favorite foods. That's the true beauty of the show; an excellent performer, sharing his life with you on stage. Honestly and beautifully. Bravo Paul Hutcheson.