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Comic returns to Somerville with scathing new The god Show
by Loren King
Thursday, April 14, 2005

Reno's new, scabrously funny and on-target The god Show takes aim at right wing religious extremists, their Republican bedfellows and the Democrats and activists whose complacency has allowed the country and Constitution to be highjacked. For those who've been waiting for a smart, sometimes hilarious diatribe from the left, Reno's new solo show is a cathartic two hours of commentary. Commissioned by Hartford Stage and premiering at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater, The god Show is like sitting at a bar next to your ranting best friend: a lesbian feminist New York City leftist who has a whole lot to say about the current state of American under Bush, and whose wit, intellect and common sense could run roughshod over the likes of Carlson Tucker and Dennis Miller - if TV were big enough to contain her.

Reno's natural venue is the stage -particularly one as cozy as Jimmy Tingle's - where she can pace like she's in her own living room and rake her wiry mane as if yanking the ideas fresh out of her brain. The audience can eavesdrop on her stream of consciousness style that allows her to jump from riffs on the gayby boom, to the gentrification of her Tribeca neighborhood, to her upbringing as the adopted child of older WASP parents and to the Ten Commandments. The thread of the monologue is religion, particularly how the sacred line between church and state has blurred. She doesn't spare the more reasoned pols and activists whose timidity and investment in process allowed Bush and his cohorts to walk off with the 2004 election. "We're going backwards!" she declares, waving her arms.

2004, Reno says, was a bad year for her. Her girlfriend left her ("She had a 13 year-old she needed to feed. I was like, 'But you fed her yesterday!'") her dog died, and W. was unbelievably returned to office. She strode onto the stage, where last year she performed her acclaimed political show Rebel Without a Pause: Unrestrained Reflections on September 11, and introduced her new puppy, Edith Ann, named, she said, for her mentor Lily Tomlin. Shooting barbs from the side of her mouth, Reno's mix of sputtering disbelief and keen perception, her compassion for humanity and her frustration at hypocrisy, at times invokes Tomlin's character of Trudy the Bag Lady who channeled extraterrestrials. Part genius and part madwoman, Reno's all-over-the-map monologue produces a comic experience that's both cathartic and disquieting. She's one of a kind, and The god Show, especially in this intimate setting, is a show not to miss.

The god Show runs to April 17 at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater, 255 Elm St., Davis Square,Somerville. To purchase tickets call TheaterMania 1-866-811-4111 or log onto   END