Matt Mitler is terribly chatty, for a mime. In fact, if Mitler's solo show "Birth and Death," which he performed last night at the Dance Place, is mime, then Rich Little and Lily Tomlin are in dire need of reclassification.
Mitler delivers illustrated monologues: He is a farmer facing death in "Leftovers;" and gives one-man, multi-character skits, such as the delivery room scene where a baby refuses to be born in "Coming Out." Particularly in the latter piece Mitler is almost frantically active, leaping in and out of his characters' bodies at a rapid pace. But most of all, he likes to make noise.
Mitler invents machines that go blonk and gunk and swoosh, and when his characters die, their blood, guts and brains hit the floor with an ungodly racket. Although Mitler has an expressive face and body that are equally convincing as a baby, a coy young woman and a gnarled old man, his penchant for characters like "Doctor Blood" and "Nurse Fudge," as well as his ceaseless antics, remind one of little more than a hyperkinetic child with a television-infested mind at play.
There were some moving moments -- Farmer Joe as a young man, climbing a mountain and reflecting on what he sees and some genuinely funny ones -- Rabbi O'Malley trying to coax a reluctant baby out of the womb by remembering and forgetting a Bible story. But they didn't quite balance out the corny, tasteless parts of Mitler's routine. Oh, what the heck. It was free, and Mitler even helped set up the chairs.