Aisle View: Orange Pekoe On The Higher West Aspect
Take two little outdated bickering men who share a $75-a-month, 5-bedroom rent-controlled apartment at 73rd & Columbus and are celebrities in their own minds; and who’re played by youthful actors of an indeterminate age wearing ghastly wigs via which their real hair appears to poke via. Put their two-man “present” in the Lyceum Theatre, for no good reason, plop them down on a stageful of reconstituted scenery, and hit them with grossly unearned spotlights. This sounds, most definitely, like a recipe for immediate catastrophe and a sizable tax write-off.
Until it turns out that the actors are keen and their characterizations impressed. And that, fortunately, is the case with the awkwardly titled (and awkwardly assembled) Oh Whats up on Broadway, starring the fictional Gil Faizon and George St. Greegland. Nick Kroll (from Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show”) and John Mulaney (from “Saturday Night Live” and Fox’s “Mulaney”) awkwardly shuffle onstage, and inside moments smite you over the top with satire and corn so lowbrow, and highbrow, that you strap your self into the rollercoaster and experience along for ninety-five minutes of hilarious insanity or insane hilarity, take your choose. Laughter ricochets by way of Broadway’s most historic playhouse, with Kroll & Mulaney skillfully stroking the hapless viewers by stoking the comedian fires with globs of rooster fat (AKA schmaltz).
Crowds getting into the theatre could be off-put by the front of house images; are these guys for real, you might well ask (Kroll and Mulaney–who have been developing Faizon and St. Greegland for years and years–have a cult viewers of their very own, although not necessarily one which frequently buys theatre tickets.) Comedic expectations rise as you page through your program, though. John Slattery and Jon Hamm, these former “Mad Males,” usually are not only listed as understudies; they have large headshots and bios four occasions as long as Kroll/Mulaney mixed. (From Slattery’s bio: “He’s at present starring in the Front Page with Nathan Lane and John Goodman, which is going to be inconvenient.”)
While ready for the present to begin, theatergoers with a keen eye will be aware that this contemporary New York play lace front with baby hairs has a show portal–framing the stage, in front of the house curtain–that looks suspiciously like Boris Aronson’s “Anatevka” portal from the original 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof.
So what, one wonders even before the lights dim down, are we about to undergo That question is swiftly answered, and Oh, Whats up never lets up. As for the scenery–designed by Scott Pask, who has gained Tony Awards for the not-so-similar Book of Mormon and Pillowman–it is filled with jokes, together with some real belly laughs.
Oh, Good day shouldn’t be a play, exactly; it’s more of a personal appearance by the Messrs. Faizon & St. Greegland, who blithely refer to themselves as “the orange pekoe teabag staining the countertop of American tradition” and who “had been recipients of a 1997 restraining order conserving us one hundred feet at all times away from America’s best actor, Mr. Alan Alda, child.” That’s all it is advisable know. The evening additionally incorporates a haphazardly wispy play-within-a-play. The action can be stuffed out with altogether too much tuna, if you understand what I mean; but I don’t anticipate you’ll know what I imply unless you have seen the thing. And yes, there’s an excessive amount of tuna.
Kroll & Mulaney’s antics usually are not similar to “The 2,000 Year Outdated Man”; they dwell in a distinct world than Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner’s creation. But there may be an obvious lineage from one to the other, kind of like 1955 Stage Deli vs. 2015 Fairway. Alex Timbers, of Peter and the Starcatcher and Here Lies Love, directs; or perhaps we must always say he efficiently manages to keep up along with his actors (who seem to be unrestrainedly improvising along the best way).
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in Oh, Good day on Broadway
Picture: Joan Marcus
Built into the play is a mini-interview of the discuss present variety; we are told that Kroll & Mulaney’s minions case the house earlier than the present and find a star, though that sounds a little bit of a stretch. (Provided that the stars seem to occupy a distinguished position inside the stand-up and cable worlds, they could indeed be able to tug this off with out ringers.) At the primary press preview, they pulled Seth Meyers on stage and more or less roasted him for fifteen minutes. Meyers gamely performed along, once they weren’t cracking him (and we the viewers) up. Up to now, we are told, guests have included Lena Dunham, Jimmy Kimmel, Katie Couric, Fred Savage, Laura Benanti and Aziz Ansari.
So no, we can’t provide a lot of a description of this well-nigh indescribable show. Nevertheless it starts out humorous and moves previous hysterical to sublime. This is presumably not what outdated Daniel Frohman had in mind when he built the Lyceum in 1903; however laughter will inform. As for me, I’ve been frequenting the Lyceum since 1969, and the other night was the first time I’ve seen a liquor bar briskly working within the lower, dungeon-like lounge beneath the males’s room.