Regional Reviews: Seattle
Love & Taxes at the Intiman Theatre
Also see David's review of Hairspray
Monologuist Josh Kornbluth is perhaps best known for his one-man show Haiku Tunnel, which served as the basis for a quirky, engaging independent film of the same title. His new show Love & Taxes at Intiman Theatre is a wryly comic, somewhat overlong look at what was going on in Kornbluth's personal and professional life when Hollywood optioned Tunnel and another of his works.
Never much of a tax whiz, Kornbluth turned to a tax attorney when the big bucks from Hollywood started rolling in. At the same time he was dating a practical, principled woman who ultimately became his wife and the mother of his child. When Hollywood let the options slide, Kornbluth and his brother decided to seek outside financing and make a film of Haiku Tunnel themselves. However, unbeknownst to those closest to him, Kornbluth's tax guru had led him into a financial money pit of nearly cataclysmic proportions. Between what he owed the guru and the IRS things looked grim, and even if the film got made, any profits Kornbluth realized would go to pay his debts. A happy ending, really a miraculous one, did take place, and playwright/performer Kornbluth conveys his journey skillfully, if leisurely. A good fifteen minutes, particularly when we get more into minuscule details of his tax woes, could be snipped to the benefit of the show.
Kornbluth succeeds best at depicting the people in his story. The tax guru from hell, Josh's maddeningly moral girlfriend, the compassionate IRS lady on the phone, the lesbian couple (and their cat) who try to help Josh with his tax mess, and even a venerable Washington, DC tax expert, are among the figures he brings engagingly to life. Kornbluth himself is sort of a Woody Allen type by way of Jason Alexander, and director David Dower skillfully orchestrates his engaging performance.
Adding to the fun are really funny video backgrounds by Flying Moose Pictures, and delicious musical scoring by Marco d'Ambrosio. If nothing else, Love and Taxes should keep more than a few of us from ever falling into the tax traps that its author/performer did. A good thing, as the kind of bail out that gives Kornbluth's show an upbeat ending isn't waiting around the corner for most of us.
Love and Taxes runs through October 2, 2004 at Intiman Theatre in Seattle Center. For more information visit Intiman Theatre on-line at www.intiman.org.
- David-Edward Hughes