Virgo, Hebrew Rising
Brian Diamond is a neurotic comic who uses the stage as a therapy couch. While that’s not unusual, what makes Diamond’s one-man Sacramento Theatre Company show different is that he’s less focused on what his neuroses are than where they came from and where they’re taking him on the road through life.In his adult life, that road has mostly been the comedy-show circuit, where Diamond’s spent 16 years honing his craft in all 50 states. But for his first one-man outing, Virgo, Hebrew Rising, Diamond reaches back to his unusual childhood as a Jewish boy of deaf parents living in Compton.
His family life is the part of the 90-minute show that works. It gives us a peek into a unique experience of a child translating for parents, a white boy traversing an African-American neighborhood, and eventually relocating to Pollock Pines—where, he jokes, he and his brother, with their inner-city swagger and talk, were the only kids of color.
Diamond does have a gift for storytelling, but where he falters is in not focusing his show on its strengths. He uses a breakup with his girlfriend as a pivotal moment, but admits it didn’t affect him for years—yet Diamond keeps coming back to this anti-climatic moment. His travails on the road are pedestrian, and a lost opportunity to find out if he uses his remarkable childhood as part of his current stand-up act.
There is a very funny and poignant Diamond in this rough; it just needs to be sharpened and tightened—something a veteran comic such as Diamond surely knows how to do during the show’s run.