Woody Shticks is many things- a comedian, a stripper, a comedian-stripper, and above all, an endlessly charismatic solo performer. His show Who Cares?, the “big, gay centerpiece” of Shticks’ self-produced Tender Loving Queers mini-festival, brought all these strengths together beautifully.
The 45-minute piece has a brilliant hook. At the beginning of the show, Shticks gave each audience member a felt tomato; if thrown by any audience member during the performance, the audience “skips” a piece the comedian’s set-list. Shticks is always in conversation with the audience, and the performance functions as a test of his audience’s interest. It’s a fascinating experiment, and loops every piece of the show back to its guiding question: “Who Cares?” From a performance standpoint, this structure allows Shticks to demonstrate an impressive flexibility and confidence, two elements that great solo work demands.
That flexibility extends to the content of the show as well. Strip-tease that is at once humorously self-aware and very skillful opens the show, and personal anecdotes, musical interludes, and stand-up all follow. Shticks is already magnetic on the surface, but his chops as both an actor and a physical performer lend the rapid-fire pace of the show cohesion it might not otherwise possess. Case in point: a lengthy sketch midway through the show in which Shticks dramatically makes a grilled-cheese sandwich, and it absolutely works. In a show that seems to intentionally strain the idea of what an audience will find inherently interesting, Shticks manages to make everything interesting.
Who Cares? was directed by Shticks’ troupe The Libertinis and stage managed by Maren Comendant. Although there were slight tech issues throughout, that’s more or less an element of any given 18th and Union. Shticks managed to bounce off these slight issues just fine, to the point where they were essentially a non-issue.
So, Who Cares? I certainly did. Woody Shticks is an absolute talent and his latest show offers more than proof of that.
Who Cares? Is through with its run at 18th and Union. For more information on Woody, go to woodyshticks.com. For information on the venue, go to https://18thandunion.org/.