Review: “The Cleaning Guy” at FringeNYC 2016

Joseph Verlezza

  • OnStage New York Critic

It is rare to find a solo show in the NY International Fringe Festival that includes original music and lyrics: that welcoming combination can be found in Paul Adams who happens to be “The Cleaning Guy.” A transplant from Kansas, he has been cleaning NYC apartments for the past twenty-five years and has an incredible roster of clients and their stories to verify it. If Mr. Adams attacks his cleaning missions with the same burst of energy shown when he enters the theater belting out the first musical number, there is no doubt he is good at his job. Most of his stories are interesting, ranging from comedy to heartfelt drama. Though some slightly miss the mark, it is of no concern, since he writes about what he knows and has experienced in this sometimes bizarre occupation. It is the first thirty or so minutes of the show that sometimes feel repetitious: the tales exhibit a sameness in content and dynamic.

But then the performance suddenly takes off and starts to fly. It just seems a bit long to climb that first hill on the roller coaster before you feel your heart pound as you speed down the first drop and continue to have your emotions erupt as he leads you around sharp unexpected turns. It is a well-constructed piece of theater that can only improve with time and tightening the script to an hour. His lyrics are an extension of his stories, usually taking on a comedic flair, and the music by Matt Casarino is a perfect complement that is sharp and clean. Melissa Attebery moves the piece along at a steady pace but should push Mr. Adams a bit further in the delineation of his client’s characters. If you have the chance, try to catch one of the remaining performances at the Soho Playhouse for a refreshing evening of entertainment.   


“The Cleaning Guy” is presented by The New York International Fringe Festival and at the Huron Club at the SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street (between 6th Avenue and Varick Street). Photo by.

Remaining performances of “The Cleaning Guy” take place at on the following schedule: Monday August 15th at 7:15 p.m.; Thursday August 18th at 9:30 p.m.; Sunday August 21st at 4:30 p.m.; and Wednesday August 24th at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $18.00. The running time is 1 hour. For more information about the show and the cast and creative team, please visit For more information about the 20th Annual New York Fringe Festival visit