- Confessions of a ’Roid Fag
- December 15, Onyx Theatre.
Certain things can only happen in cabaret. A piano littered with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe dolls bouncing as a man wearing only a robe and gold bikini briefs sings R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” is probably one. Enoch Augustus Scott’s Confessions of a ’Roid Fag, or How He-Man Made Me Gay—which recently played twice at Onyx Theatre—is a collection of songs and original monologues centered on themes of body dysmorphia. Specifically in Scott’s case, that means muscle dysmorphia, or the belief that he could never be muscular enough, set into place by his twin obsessions with He-Man toys and professional wrestling.
Scott definitely wins points for intellectual understanding of his dysfunction, comfortably analyzing the archetypes and Jungian shadows present in the He-Man universe. But he only brings it back to himself with one line, about steroids getting worked into his body. The monologues come across as witty and insightful, but remain merely facts. There’s no examination of the consequences of those facts or their ramifications in his life.
Instead, the emotional content is left to the songs, which Scott absolutely devours. For this, he was accompanied by pianist Spencer Baker (who also arranged the songs) and guitarist Garret Harbison. By turns straight-up or searingly interpretative, Scott works his way through a diverse range of styles and composers with skill and talent. Unfortunately, the divide between the emotional life of the songs and the emotional life of the monologues is vast, so certain moments feel unintentionally campy (an a cappella version of The Golden Girls theme song, for example) or completely over the top (“Surabaya Johnny” by Kurt Weill).
It’s clear that Scott is absolutely in command of every emotion in each song, but lacking connective tissue in the monologue portions, those emotions don’t land with the deep effect he clearly intends. We’re left to watch a deep emotional experience without being invited in. Scott’s story sounds fascinating. I just wish he had shared it more effectively.