Hip Shot: Killer Quack
Main Stage – Goethe Institut
Tuesday July 22, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday July 24, 8:15 p.m.
Saturday July 26, 5:15 p.m.
They say: Dean Faiello was a con man posing as a doctor. James Judd was one of his victims until Faiello killed a patient and became a tabloid sensation. Then Judd began receiving Faiello’s letters from prison. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Rachel K’s take: James Judd frames his one-man show Killer Quack as a story of what happens when a stranger becomes an obsession. The stranger in Judd’s case just happens to be his handsome tattoo-removal doctor, who is actually a con man on the run after killing a patient.
Judd, a Capital Fringe veteran, is someone who knows how to hold the stage. He captivates. And if there’s any tale worth weaving, it would seem to be this lurid-but-true gem.
Killer Quack hinges on the audience’s fascination not with the dude who graced the pages of the New York Post, but for Judd’s obsession with the con man. Judd conveys why the word “crush” means both magnetic affection and what happens when something heavy turns your insides into mush.
The show incorporates music and light creatively. One particular callback joke using music is particularly effective – a play on Casablanca’s “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” line that is both silly and sincere. Judd telling stories to impress the doctor during tattoo removal appointments was a clever bit that had the audience in stitches as we got to know him.
But the show doesn’t do much with all the goodwill that it builds. Perhaps it’s the knowledge we already have of the story. The playbill and advertising for Killer Quack give away too much. Or it could be Judd’s early show announcement that this show is about identity and obsession, rather than letting us come to those conclusions on our own.
Judd still conveys with great humor that even the most outrageous and bizarre stories have a human at their center.
See it if: You wish that Joy Behar had a show like Nancy Grace.
Skip it if: You never got why people are interested in true-crime stories anyway.