Open: 10/25/15- Close: 11/01/15
Late with Lance is Back! Featuring Actual Stars!|
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Ashley Griffin
Peter Michael Marino is the theater world's answer to Christopher Guest. I had the great joy of getting to review his more well known show "Desperately Seeking the Exit" and, though "Late With Lance" does not have the deep message, or moving journey that that show did - it does exactly what it is supposed to do - entertain us with a really fun evening at the theater.
"Late With Lance" feels a lot like what "Waiting For Guffman" would be if it could exist on stage. I've always been so frustrated by the fact that there's really no good way to bring a piece reliant on the mockumentary form such as "Waiting For Guffman" or "Drop Dead Gorgeous" to the stage. The very thing that makes the piece, and provides the backbone on which the whole story - and likewise all of the humor is based can't exist in a live stage show. There is a very specific suspension of disbelief that exists in the theater that doesn't on film. The closest any piece came to making it work was the Broadway show "Smile" - and that was (tragically) a flop.
Lance Jonathan (please call him "Just Lance" - after all, he wrote an entire song about it) is a cross between Corky St. Clair and Libby Mae Brown. He is an aspiring Broadway star (in the vein of Rachel Berry) who has been working on his dad's cruise ship for the past fifteen years (working as a swing.) He is in town for one night only (the night the ship is in port) and is fulfilling one of the many dreams in his dream journal by performing his one man show in a bar off-off-off-off Broadway. He is paired with a brilliantly droll techie who, in between begrudgingly playing malfunctioning sound cues is forced to continuously check Lance's phone to see if Liza, or Hugh Jackman have responded to his tweets and are showing up tonight.
What elevates the show is how well it mocks just the kind of show it's claiming to be. It's difficult to parody a genre while performing that genre - it's all to easy to just slip into bad theater. But Marino comments on what he is mocking. We love Lance, and at the same time we recognize just how ridiculous he is. Marino incorporates really fun audience interaction which, when paired with Lance as a central character, brings the focus of the evening to elevating the story of the every day, not terribly spectacular person.
The show could benefit from delving deeper into its themes - in the way "Desperately Seeking the Exit" did. Marino is quite a craftsman, and could elevate this piece to have a broader scope and be much more moving if he so chose. With a great deal of work, it really could transform into a theatrical "Waiting For Guffman." But as it is now, "Lance" is a very enjoyable and fun evening at the theater. Perhaps my favorite moment was when Lance performed the audition monologue that failed to get him into the LaGuardia ("Fame") school of the performing arts - the monologue from the movie "Fame" in which the female dancer auditioning for the school gets cut in favor of her dance partner - who was just supposed to be doing her a favor.
Triple Crown Underground Theater : 330 7th Avenue