Moscow to Manhattan
nytheatre.com review by Amy Lee Pearsall
October 12, 2012
The best way I can describe Moscow to Manhattan as written and performed by Russian jew émigré Ilya Khodosh is Woody Allen meets an extended stand-up comedy set. Transplanted to Brooklyn from mother Russia at age eight, and presented with the opportunity in early adulthood to revisit the motherland, Khodosh voyages home in search of his self-identity. Instead, he discovers bathhouses, Peter the Great’s cabinet of fetal curiosities, and people who talk to each other in much the same way as they do in Brooklyn.
In dark framed glasses, gray slacks and cardigan, the self-deprecating Khodosh takes bits of his story to the audience, but tends to direct most it to a spot somewhere at the back of the house. In spite of some very funny lines and a journey across oceans, his story doesn’t quite go anywhere. Maybe that’s the point. Still, I could not help but think that, in terms of both narrative and performance, he might benefit from the assistance of a director (or perhaps another director – whether or not he worked with anyone on the piece was not immediately apparent from the program).
The beauty in United Solo is that there is such a diversity of work represented, the opportunity to experience multiple viewpoints, knee-slapping comedy, and thought-provoking drama can be had in a single evening. If you have a soft spot for one-acts and solo-performance, do make a point to check it out. You’ll be glad you did.