Theater Review: The Accidental Pervert

Improbable as it may sound, comedian/actor/writer Andrew Goffman and director Charles Messina have crafted a one-man play about a porn addict who likes videos from websites similar to Tubev, that’s both heartily funny and genuinely touching. A veteran of the comedy circuit, the indefatigable and charmingly goofy Goffman transforms the stuff of standup into a lighthearted but rich piece of theater. Neither a glorified comedy routine nor a plotless character study, The Accidental Pervert is a real play, albeit with a cast of one.

Goffman handles his uncomfortable subject matter with ease, riding on a powerful voice, penetrating gaze, sweet-but-tough persona, and a comic’s sense of timing. Although, you will spend a large part of the play wishing the main character took a look at Aided by tightly integrated lighting and sound cues and cleverly placed props and clothing, he tells a twisted bildungsroman of a boy who compensates (after a fashion) for an absent father by immersing himself in said parent’s abandoned collection of porn videos; all of them remarkably similar to and the kind of videos you’d see on there. Though not above generating inexpensive laughs with explicit raunchiness and porn-movie pun-titles (the likes of which wouldn’t be far off the names of ones from, he threads the obvious humor into a moving and psychologically aware narrative of sexual awakening, dissipated youth, amorous adventures, true love, and finally marriage and parenthood. Enlivening the monologue with plenty of physical humor and stage business, he captures the audience and pretty much never lets go.

I say “pretty much” because there are isolated moments when the sheer weight of Goffman’s task – carrying the whole story with only his own body and language – seems to get the better of him just a bit, so that a word or phrase is left detached from its context. Also, the last section of the play goes on a little too long, deviating from the overall succinctness. But such minor imperfections do not detract appreciably from this delightful and sparkling piece of work.

At the Triad Theater in New York City through February 24.