When we last met up in April with the young Steven Fales, he was performing his one-man show “Confessions of a Mormon Boy.” It was a funny and poignant tale about a long journey toward self-acceptance.
This weekend, the actor is back at the Onyx with the second of a three-part series called “Missionary Position.” The script doesn’t have the sweep and power of the first. It’s more like a string of one-liners that poke fun at — predictably — the hypocrisy surrounding the naive man/boy. But the one-liners are awfully good, and the show has enough moments of depth to keep you thinking in-between laughs.
Fales has a gimmick that I’m not sure works in context of this material. In his previous show, he talked at length about his days as a male hustler. So it made sense that he dressed like one, and that his print advertising teased the viewer with a bit of carefully sculptured flesh. This time out, the peek-a-boo ads and the jeans with the carefully placed holes and the nudity seem designed as nothing more than a corporate approach to get gay men’s butts in seats.
If that’s what Fales feels he needs to do to sell, it’s unfortunate, because he’s a first-rate actor. When he speaks of how spiritually lost he felt as he attempted to bring spirituality to others, you feel his pain. His “character” is a good man who doesn’t know how to be good.
The show begins with just the right sort of scaled-down tone. As people are still entering the theater, Fales appears in street clothes at the side door hauling what seems to be a huge, heavy trunk. When he finally makes it to centerstage, it’s clear we’re going to spend the evening having what feels like a casual, living-room conversation with a likable guy sharing his memories.
Fales’ lack of fanfare puts us in the mood to listen. And the stories Fales has found in himself are worth listening to.
Anthony Del Valle can be reached at vegastheaterchat @aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.REVIEW
What: “Missionary Position”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara Ave. No. 16
Tickets: $25 (732-7225)