Here’s what Avner the Eccentric can do: He can balance a big wooden ladder on his chin. He can balance an even bigger metal ladder on his chin. He can pick some scraps of paper off tile floor, roll them in his hand and turn them magically into a seamless sign. He can dance with a stack of paper cups. He can walk across a slack rope.
Here is what Avner the Eccentric can’t do: He can’t keep a pack of cigarettes from spilling on the floor, and when he does, he has trouble retrieving them. He can’t keep his pants up. He can’t keep his hat on. (It keeps getting hung up on broomsticks and baseball bats).
Here is what Avner the Eccentric does best: he reduces his audience to laughter and giggles and applause.
Avner the Eccentric, with his gray beard, endlessly expressive face, supple limbs, black hat and baggy pants that conceal everything from a coat hanger to a box of popcorn, is the latest good news about Times Square.
Avner isn’t exactly spreading the word, because his delightful act is almost silent, but his comedy speaks for him in a new show called “Exceptions to Gravity,” which is playing through Sunday in the monument of restoration that is the New Victory Theater.
Avner, whose full name is Avner Eisenberg, works with only a few simple props. But he is a master of milking a maximum of merriment out of the cigarettes that keep spilling, The broom that falls apart and the baseball bats that trap him uncomfortable postures. Give him a target of opportunity, like a latecomer in the audience or someone who sets off a camera flashbulb just when he is poised to balance one of ladders, and Avner pounces on the comic possibilities.
The New Victory is dedicated to children. Avner the Eccentric is dedicated to a good time for all.