Review: “Serpent’s Tooth” at The Tank

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Anthony Piccione

  • New York Theatre Critic

Most statistics show that the vast majority of marriages today end in divorce. While many kids with divorced parents ultimately grow up to become very happy and successful adults, the fact of the matter is that it still isn’t a pleasant experience, while growing up. So what do you do about it? Make a few jokes about it, of course! At least, that seems to be one of the lessons from Serpent’s Tooth, an event of various featured storytellers – revolving around the theme of memorable awkward events, when they were younger - on the last night of The Tank’s highly successful Speak Up, Rise Up festival.

The event was kicked off by host Gianmarco Soresi, who immediately lightens up the crowd with his energy and enthusiasm, before delving into a story about growing up with divorced parents, and an uncomfortable time he had getting ice cream with his stepfather. Normally, my inclination is to feel some sympathy to kids in this situation, and I still do in Soresi’s case. However, any sympathy I had was overshadowed by how much I laughed along with his humorous retelling of this childhood incident, and I applaud him for that ability to take a situation that is familiar to many people, and make it into endearing comedy.

The performers who followed were more of a mixed bag. Sharron Paul seemed to go off a similar theme as Soresi, but unfortunately, her tale proved to be less engaging, due largely to a visibly nervous and low-key delivery and stage presence. Next up was Robin Gelfenbien, whose tale of how she lost her virginity at an older age (by choice) proved to be quite an improvement, with the descriptive details leaving the audience in chuckles. Finally, Sandi Marx proved to the the best of the three latter performers, with her very funny story involving her aspirations as a young woman of being a great comedian, in the mold of Carol Burnett and Joan Rivers, at a time when female comedians weren’t as common as they are today.

The show came to an awkward end, when Soresi attempted to keep the audience entertained as the last scheduled performer – Lucas Connolly – rushed to get there, over an hour after the show’s start, only to have the producers tell them their time was up, before he could get there. Indeed, that’s an unfortunate way to end a show, but nonetheless, the overall event was quite entertaining, with relatable comedic storytelling from a fairly decent group of performers, each of whom are worth looking up, and seeing in-person at any future NYC events. My understanding is that they all do this frequently, so be sure to consider seeing each of them one day, for yourselves.

“Serpent’s Tooth” ran for one night only at The Tank as part of the Speak Up, Rise Up festival on August 12th. For more information, please visit www.thetanknyc.org.