Ventriloquism Is Alive And Well In L.A.
REVIEW by Willard Manus

U.S.-born David Strassman has been honing his ventriloquist act in England, Ireland and Australia for the past decade, working everything from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to main stages to prime-time radio and tv. Now he has come home and taken up residence in a small Hollywood stage to shape his act for American audiences.

STRASSMAN is a one-man show which features the polished performer sparring with his puppet sidekicks, especially Chuck E. Wood, a street-smart, profane urchin who is a mixture of Charlie McCarthy and Don Rickles. Chuck not only loves a good insult but takes glee in spitting water at a putative "stalker" in the first row. Strassman has more kindly fun with Teddy, a bearcub suffering from low self-esteem and a weight problem. Next comes Kevin, a sly, sardonic alien from outer space--E.T. on acid. Act Two introduces Satan and various animatronic creatures who do a dance macabre to the Bohemian Rhapsody. The technical wizardry is amazing.

Six writers take credit for Strassman's material, but the ventriloquest also does considerable ad-libbing and improvising. Some of his off-the-cuff material worked, some of it didn't. STRASSMAN is without doubt a work in progress, but it still offers enough humor and razzle-dazzle to be recommended.

The Complex, Ruby Theatre, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 960-7792 or To learn more about David Strassman visit