Manigma

Antic solo performer Michael Aronov shows his acting range.

  • FINE FEATHERED FRIEND Aronov dons a boa for a musical number.

FINE FEATHERED FRIEND Aronov dons a boa for a musical number.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

If you sit down front at Michael Aronov’s crowd-pleasing solo Manigma, you might become an uncredited part of the performance. The evening I was there, the energetic actor (or should I say the diverse needy and funny characters that he inhabits) flirted with and mocked audience members, borrowed a fur hat from a woman, leaned perilously close to another after mooning us and even had some playgoers holding hands.

Aronov doesn’t just embrace his audience, he holds them captive as he morphs into six characters of vastly different accents and demeanors—including a foul-mouthed transvestite with a dark past, an immigrant trying to navigate the dating waters and an OCD-afflicted guy yearning for his dead mother while toilet-bound.

Under David Travis’s direction, the soloist tackles these lost souls with the force of a linebacker, employing only minimal set pieces and costume changes. Aronov’s joie de vivre is infectious, but while his repertoire (which also features an inmate preaching about violence, a New Ager looking to mantras for strength and an uninhibited free-lover) is a commendable showcase for his versatility, the roles are not the richly defined personae you get from, say, Danny Hoch. Still, Aronov has an undeniable flair for capturing people’s cadences and the way they both express and fail to express themselves. All that, and a bit of dangerif you get too close.—Diane Snyder

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Clurman Theatre. By Michael Aronov. Dir. David Travis. With Aronov. 1hr 30mins. No intermission.