Same Train- they got the funk and the blues and...
Even though it skips around narratives as much as David Lynch, Levy Lee Simon's play Same Train holds together well on the strength of its individual stories and story-tellers.
Along with a raunchy, sexy take on Muddy Water's "Hootchie Cootchie Man" and snippets from Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, P-Funk, Grandmaster Flash and Rick James, there's also Mark Bruckner's original songs which blend gospel, blues and jazz.
The tunes float through tales such as a love story with a circumcised African female, a literal shaggy dog tale, a late wife who marched with Dr. King, time travel and hitchhiking (Douglas Adams would be proud). It's meant to cover the whole African American experience of the last century but anything short of a Robert Wilson or Angels in America extravaganza could really convey that. Still, give Simon and Bruckner credit for their ambitions and most of the stories come across well thanks to the force of the actors, especially Cedric Turner's country bluesman and Eddie Goines' cocky characterizations.
Same Train is playing at the Off Off Broadway (East 24th Street) venue Algonquin Theater through March 8th. Tickets are available at SmartTix.