One Hump Heart
solo performance · good shows · Ages 18+ · world premiere · one person show · 55 mins · United States of America
Review by S. LUKEJune 13, 2019 certified reviewer
What I liked
I enjoyed this show so much more than I expected, but a few things stood out as particularly impressive:
CHARACTERIZATION: Rob plays three major characters (as well as a couple supporting characters) who are often on stage, in dialogue with one another, at the same time. It seemed so effortless that I didn’t consider until later the amount of skill and stamina this requires. It’s the mark of a good actor to convincingly portray a different persona by simply shifting tone and body language. It is, I would argue, the mark of an EXCELLENT actor to make an anthropomorphized penis seem, well… adorable.
MUSIC: The songs are hilarious – highlights of the show! There are double entendres! – there is dancing! Remarkably, a week later, I still catch myself singing snippets of chorus. They are catchy as hell — although, as another reviewer notes, the lyrics may raise some eyebrows. A few lines are already inside jokes between me and my friends.
MESSAGE: I wasn’t sure what to expect from a show about “falling in love with yourself” and, frankly, I just came to be entertained. I wasn’t expecting to also be moved. For a tale about a man learning to love himself better, especially one so liberally seeded with jizz jokes, it is remarkably relatable. Hidden in the clever, exuberant, often lurid lyrics are messages about self-acceptance that I’m still thinking about, days after the show.
One Hump Heart not only tells you that it’s okay to be a little weird, it sings it to you. Most importantly, it shows you. The story seems semi-autobiographical, so kudos to the performer for giving us glimpses of his journey — and a literal front row seat to his own special endearing brand of weirdness.
In short, I left the theater wanting to be bolder in my own life.
And that, I think, elevates One Hump Heart from clever entertainment to Art.
What I didn't like
Loved it from start to finish. The pace of dialogue was occasionally a little fast — I was often still laughing at the last joke when the next one would hit — but that’s understandable for the first performance. Rob is an adaptable performer and will surely give the lines a little room to breathe for the rest of the show’s run. (And may it be a long run!)
My overall impression
Uproariously funny and surprisingly poignant! Rob Zaleski — actor, singer, composer — has written a script about self-love that is somehow both hilarious and genuinely thought-provoking. The writing is self-aware, the performance is gleefully bawdy, and the songs are a RIOT. You will leave knowing how (and why) to Turn Your Life Around.
Only suggestion: get a bigger venue. We are coming back and we are bringing more people. And I can’t promise we won’t be be singing along!