`Male Intellect' is nothing new but fun even so

Review: While the one-man show doesn't break new ground, it is a pleasant enough way to spend an evening.

March 03, 2000|By Mike Giuliano | Mike Giuliano,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Men are stubborn, egotistical and afraid to commit. Not only that, but they're lousy dancers, belch a lot and don't like cats.

That's what Robert Dubac says about the male gender in his one-man show at the Lyric Opera House, "The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?"

Although his show lacks any great insights into the eternal battle of the sexes, it agreeably revisits territory that's already familiar from Rob Becker's "Defending the Caveman" and assorted pop psychological trips to Venus and Mars. In fact, one of the highlights of the show is when Dubac playfully sorts through a pile of self-help books with titles like "5,000 Years of Foreplay."

For further reinforcement of his themes, there's a blackboard on which male characteristics are listed like so many indictments. And there's an off-stage female voice occasionally chiming in with additional things that make men tick and tick women off.

Dubac makes sure you know where he's coming from. Heck, he even defines "oxymoron" for the sake of anybody stumped by the show's title.

But if this intermission-less 90-minute show sometimes stalls as it predictably hits the repeat button on the guys vs. gals stand-up material, Dubac is able to generate enough laughs.

His engaging personality has a lot to do with his ability to hold an audience. The show's premise to the contrary -- that his girlfriend dumped him two weeks ago and so he's venting his frustration -- Dubac comes across as a good-natured guy. His complaints are never truly mean-spirited, and his language rarely goes beyond PG-13. In short, men will relate to his dating woes and women will conclude this is one fellow whose flaws they could live with.

Dubac sparks the show with his skill at imitating male and female gestures and tones of voice. He's especially funny in a scene where he contrasts the stiffly self-conscious dance floor moves of the typical male with the more natural female moves.

Robert Dubac also enlivens his "Male Intellect" by supplementing his "Bobby" stage persona with five other, somewhat stereotypical male characters: The Colonel, who is a Southern-accented military man with the cliched macho attitudes you'd expect; Jean-Michel, who uses his French accent as a tool of seduction; a slick-talking pick-up artist, Fast Eddie; an old fisherman, Mr. Linger; and a dese-en-dose-spouting Italian named Ronnie Cabrezzi.

Some of these characters are seen too fleetingly to score as many laughs as they should, but they help convey the myriad ways in which men fall short of admirable behavior. For that matter, these guys are eager to tabulate what bothers them about women.

The couples in the audience will have plenty to discuss on their way home from the Lyric.

`Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?'

Where: Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave.

When: 8 p.m. today; 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $15- $42.50

Call: 410-481-7328

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