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Oh God, A Show About Abortion

A show about abortion coming at the perfect time.

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Alison Leiby in a scene from “Oh God, A Show About Abortion” at the Cherry Lane Theatre (Photo credit: Mindy Tucker)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

Alison Leiby’s Oh God, A Show About Abortion is probably the most level-headed work about that much debated subject, perhaps too level-headed.  While the United States is going through social and political paroxysms over a leaked Supreme Court argument that portends the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Leiby’s matter-of-fact attitude toward the subject is a balm.

Her hour-long standup routine treats abortion as just another medical procedure, nothing to get excited about, totally avoiding the possibility of having second thoughts of any kind.  At one point she compares being unexpectedly pregnant to covering a cockroach with a Tupperware, knowing that you just want to get rid of it.  It’s an uncouth metaphor, but quite in line with Oh God’s purposely casual tone which is matched by Leiby’s outfit: dark t-shirt and comfortably worn out jeans.

She speaks with wit about the sex education of women, or, the lack thereof, as compared with men.  The Barbie doll seems to have had a major impact on her romantic life along with the barrage of commercials and media imagery distorting women’s feelings of sexuality and self-worth. She puts contraception advertisements through her vivid comic grinder, making fun of their names and methods—Yaz and Phexxi, anyone?

Her incisive analysis of women’s periods is both astonishing and funny.  (Little do men know just how much of a woman’s life is consumed by this monthly “ritual.”)

Alison Leiby outside of the Cherry Lane Theatre where her “Oh God, A Show About Abortion” is now playing through June 5 (Photo credit: Mindy Tucker)

Her own abortion in 2019 is the eponymous source of this monologue.  While on tour in Missouri, Leiby (one of the writers on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) is surprised to discover that she was pregnant after having unprotected sex.  Her experience finding and using a pregnancy test in a CVS in Missouri is amusingly frustrating.

She hoped that her own gynecologist in New York City would perform the procedure, but, to her dismay, her doctor didn’t do that kind of work.  So, she gravitated quite naturally to Planned Parenthood in NYC where the abortion went off without a snag, an activity scheduled amongst a busy day of activities.

She makes it abundantly clear that she never, ever wanted children, however disappointing that decision was to her mother to whom Leiby often turned.  Her mother is a fervent, lifelong abortion proponent.

Alison Leiby in a scene from “Oh God, A Show About Abortion” at the Cherry Lane Theatre (Photo credit: Mindy Tucker)

Oh God’s greatest strengths lie in Leiby’s ability to tell her story in everyday language laced with the proper amount of expletives and knowing just how to put across her story after years of stage and club experiences.

Lila Neugebauer has directed the show with a good feel for this comic’s natural rhythm and her relatable personality.

Oh God, A Show About Abortion could not have come at a better time. Whatever side one takes on this important issue and however worried one is about the upcoming Court decision, Leiby’s show illuminates the subject with humor and an offhanded charm.

Oh God, A Show About Abortion (through June 30, 2022)

Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, visit http://www.OhGodShow.com

Running time: 70 minutes without an intermission

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (438 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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