Penny Arcade, Variety
Actress and monologist Penny Arcade makes a strong impact in her 1-woman show, "True Stories," vignettes of myriad Gotham types. With judicious pruning and a stronger finish, she's ready for the bigtime with this material.
Italian America thesp in her mid-30s, née Susana Ventura, has an impressive range. She's most comfortable with Tallulah Bankhead-type characters, including Andrea Whips (a parody of Andy Warhol's "superstars") and her tour de force routine as drag queen/heroin addict in Harlem, Dame Margo Howard-Howard. Latter monologue includes seamless integration of other characters, including a drug dealer, that evidences considerable honing of the material.
Working on nearly a bare set but with effective lighting, Arcade's funniest routine is an uncanny portrayal of cantankerous 73-year-old housewife Lucy from SoHo. Opener was a serious ethnic essay on Girl, a pregnant young street person with AIDS. Her out-of-character patter with the audience is a solid icebreaker.
Show was produced by Arcade and Mitch Markowitz, with Tony Zanetta as artistic director.