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LA Theater Review

American Addict

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What is the difference between a viral Internet meme and a live stage performance? Such is the question posed by this feeble and ill-fitted autobiographical object lesson (directed by Francesco Campari) by YouTube caricaturist Ricky Butler. In 2006, Butler's ham-handed clip of celebrity impersonations scored an astonishing 1 million hits, leading to further satirical video vignettes. Unfortunately, the digital metonymy that served him online proves a crippling liability onstage. Chronicling his years as a struggling New York actor, Butler impersonates a dozen of the downtown artists, street eccentrics, and out-and-out oddballs he encounters even as his pot- and alcohol-fueled life spirals out of control. Ultimately, the addiction that Butler addresses is the insatiable need of actors for the unqualified love of the public. Winning that love, however, is going to take far more than this pallid and imponderable performance.

I.O. West, 6366 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Thu., June 16, 8 p.m., Fri.–Sat., 8 p.m.; through June 25. hollywoodfringe.org/projects/336.

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