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Rambo Redux

A daffily powerful one-person play that re-creates the book First Blood. With M&Ms.


Four times a week in Soho Rep’s Rambo Solo, Zachary Oberzan stands on a bare stage before a packed house of twentysomethings sitting cross-legged on cushions, excitedly telling the complete story of the book and movie First Blood. As Oberzan—a doughy knife enthusiast with an inscrutable accent—acts out the adventures of “that fucking badass” John Rambo using only M&Ms, Coke bottles, and the occasional audience member as props, three Zacharys appear on video screens behind the stage, acting out the same story in his tiny apartment—the live Oberzan replicating every verbal tic and kung fu move of those recorded performances, right down to the ever-growing pit stains on his hipster T-shirt.

The effect can be mesmerizing, and viewers will come away reminded of the power of even the cheapest myths. And though Oberzan and Nature Theater of Oklahoma—the avant-garde troupe that created this oddball piece—never quite elevate Rambo Solo past the level of accomplished stunt, it’s still a weird and touching testament to the potency of pop culture and the poetry of incoherence, an entertaining high-low crash that suggests a Wooster Group adaptation of the talk-backs on website Ain’t It Cool News.

Rambo Solo
Soho Rep


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