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T H E A T E R   R E V I E W  -  And I'm Not Lying  -  NoHo Arts Center

 
        

LOS ANGELES, CA - Writer and performer Jaston Williams has one of those deep and smooth Texan accents that sounds like Hank Hill and bourbon. Well known for the loveable characters he plays in his award winning Greater Tuna trilogy, Williams' autobiographical show And I'm Not Lying paints a picture of growing up on a dust worn Texas farm. More than a half dozen comedic vignettes capture seemingly arbitrary, yet pivotal moments of his development from ornery whipper-snapper to disturbingly blase drug addict.

Williams kicks things off relating his first pangs of stage fright as the lone boy in his ballet class performance. Quick thinking and compass like guidance from his instructor turns him into the star of the show. We learn of his iron-willed mother who ruled the county with her razor edged determination in getting things done her way. Although deaf, blind and feeble, his mother insisted on driving herself where ever she dang well pleased.

In combination with these and other snapshots of an unbelievable upbringing, it's not a big surprise when Williams emerges at the top of the second act in a chicken suit and shares tales of acid trips and debauchery in the 60's. The audience is walked through one of his foggy recollections of attending a renaissance fair that seems more like a fun house gone askew. Among other strangeness he encounters a Linda Ronstadt look-a-like who impassionedly calls to her sisters "Women, you are the future of tomorrow."

In a darker moment Williams relives getting high, his friend tries unsuccessfully to locate an arm vein that won't collapse. It's watching a highly personal experience, horrifying and riveting. Yet through all the self induced haze, he is some how able to find love, find friendship and find angels.

Williams' writing is sharp and deeply poetic. His machine gun fire of words reveals an entire universe in a matter of moments; it's definitely not for slow listeners. The simple set pieces are beautiful in their weathered state and match the work flawlessly. Williams message of recovery would only sharpen if condensed from it's 140 minute length. And I'm Not Lying is presented by special engagement at the NoHo Arts Center for four performances only before moving to Denver and then New York. - Ruston Harker


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