Cowboy Mouth, written by Sam Shepard with assistance from Patti Smith at the Chelsea Hotel in NYC in 1971, presents their love affair writ in metaphor in a one-act play that rocks, or in this case, should rock.
Slim (Shepard character) is obsessively drawn to Cavale (Smith character), who hijacks his secret fantasy of wanting to be a Rock ‘n Roll Jesus, and tries to force it on him. She has worshipped at the altars of Jagger and Dylan, and argues that Slim must step up to the plate:
“People want a street angel. They want a saint but with a cowboy mouth.”
Justin O’Neill and Claire Kaplan, directed by Samuel Hunter, give it a good go in Hungry River Company’s suitably ultra low budget fringe production. However, a less act-y performance — brought down a notch and more off-hand– would serve them well.
Cowboy Mouth requires an actor in the Slim role who is not only a hunk, but who can work rock & roll magic with a guitar. O’Neill falls short in the second category.
Spencer Howard’s Lobster Man is a nice piece of work. A combo of theater of the absurd, deus ex machina, and substi-rock god, Lobster Man provides the mechanism that will allow Slim to break free.
At Theatre Asylum on spunky Theater Row, Santa Monica Blvd.