David Cale portrays Central Park carriage driver turned accidental gigolo Kieran McGrath in Aurora Theatre Company's Bay Area Premiere of PALOMINO. Photo by David Allen

PALOMINO: Solo drama. Written and performed by David Cale. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley.. (510) 843-4822. November 4 - December 5, 2010.


Solo performances are usually autobiographical often filled with personal angst and it is refreshing to attend the charming latest offering at the intimate Aurora Theatre. Multitalented David Cale, in preparation for a film part, replaced an Irish Central Park carriage driver for one month and discovered that many “things” happen during and after those rides in the park. Thus, the story of Palomino germinated and we are acquainted with an Irish carriage driver who turned gigolo.

He tells his story in a leisurely droll manner adroitly switching between his characters. Along with the Irishman driver, he creates four sexy woman and two gay men to tell his story. He isn’t very adept at female mannerisms embellished with higher vocal pitch, body language and hand gestures. To his credit he does not overdo the sterotypical affectations for his gay men. All this from a balding, not very handsome and self-effacing man. Although enjoyable, he fails to hold your attention all of the 95 minutes without intermission.

Our protagonist and narrator, Kieran McGrath has aspiration for writing a novel. While driving a carriage pulled by a Palomino pony in New York’s Central Park he is recruited by a pimp named Marsha to join her high-class escort service as a gigolo for her friends who require a young stud rather than gentlemen their own age. A “fee’ of $1,000 is offered. A writer needs a source of income to ply his trade, as a writer that is. In addition, what better way to become monetarily independent, have time to write having access to a plethora of new material, and doing what come naturally? Then we meet the women.

His first client Ruby, who needs an escort to a very social function at Carnegie Hall, also needs “servicing” afterwards. Extremely nervous Ruby sheds her reticence when it is time to reap the benefits of her purchase. Second up is Vallie and most of the story revolves around her. With money to burn, the ladies take their toy-boy from Manhattan to Los Angeles, Monterey seashore, London and an island in the Mediterranean. There is the clever use of projections appropriate for the time and place of the escapades.

The problem that arises to throw a monkey wrench into this idyllic life is that the women feel that they are falling in love with Kieran. That does not sit well with our budding author who has been writing down the details and conversations of his clients. Love is an anathema to him and when introspection suggests that this may be the outcome of his “business”, he abandons Vallie and his gigolo career.

To conclude the monologue, Cale devises a touching scene, bringing back the Palomino drawn carriage, this time with the Irishman whom Kieran had temporarily replaced. The passenger is a gay Londoner who has the unpublished copy of Kieran’s story and we are treated to some of the words spoken by the characters earlier. As we come full circle, one wishes that our trip in the Palomino drawn carriage had ran at a gallop and not a trot.

Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine