by Tulis McCall

“Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show” is an acquired taste. This means you have to keep up with her rapid delivery that lasts a mere 80 minutes.  I was not familiar with Ms. Bloom, (never saw her musical-comedy series, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) and I was definitely in the minority – but this did not stop me from keeping up because Bloom is a very articulate and precise performer.  She knows exactly where she is going and will do everything she can to make sure you stay on the path.

Which does not mean the path makes a lot of sense.  Bloom more or less leap-frogs from 2019 which is the date she intended for this very one-woman show.  Then, however, life happened.  Covid of course, her daughter’s birth in March of 2020, and the death of her collaborating partner Adam Schlesinger due to Covid. And her therapist died as well.

In the presentation of the prologue Bloom assures us that we can go back to the 2019 material and everything will be fine.

Following is a SPOILER ALERT – if you prefer not to read just skip to the end where you can decide if this is a holiday show for you.

Bloom would be okay just talking about the birth (some hilarious videos here of Bloom rocking out to “Space Jam”) well, the good part of the birth which is that her daughter lived.  But she was born with fluid in her lungs which made things a bit dodgy for a while.  Death, personified with just the right touch of awkwardness by David Hull makes an appearance.  Seems this death is tired of being swept under the rug or off the stage.  Starting with Bloom, Death will insist on a place in the lineup.

The odd bit about this is that, as fine a performer as Hull is, the character of Death is unnecessary.  Everything Bloom goes through is enough on its own.  She examines the juxtaposition of the joy of her daughter’s birth with the terror of protecting her at every moment.  She adds the devastation of Schlesinger’s death, as well the death of  her therapist, which slams her in the heart and makes her focus on life in a very raw way.  Because she is so good at performing, we are included on this brutal and at times hilarious – because Bloom cannot go more than a few minutes without humor – dark or light who cares?

END SPOILER ALERT

You could do worse than take a trip with this observant guide.  Bloom begins her tale with being more obsessed with her dog’s death (inevitable but not imminent) and brings us back to that very point.  We are specs in the universe.  We are, like the dogs we own, here to love and serve.  And that is about all the guarantee Bloom can offer.  Not a bad way to conclude the year.

Death, Let Me Do My Show – Written and performed by Rachel Bloom, Directed by Seth Barrish

Set Design – Beowulf Boritt, Costume Design by Kristin Isola, Lighting Design by Aaron Copp.

Through January 6th at the Orpheum Theatre, 126 Second Avenue.  TICKETS HERE