In their (bottomless) cups
Two simpleminded brunchers who just won't leave create a hilarious vortex of chaos in the bizarro diner that is the setting for "Out to Lunch."
By JOSHUA TANZER
(Originally reviewed at the 2002 New York Fringe Festival)
All right, I'm developing a theory on the spur of the moment here. The theory is: At every Fringe Festival, there is one play so unreviewable that it's added to the schedule just to give critics fits trying to describe it. This year, that play is "Out to Lunch," subtitled "Kill the Campers."
Nonetheless, I'm going to give it a shot.
|OUT TO LUNCH|
Written and directed by: Joseph Langham.
Cast: Jim Cherry, Matthew David Barton, Robert Zwaschka, Monica Cortez, Clint McCown, Mark McGriff, Richard Hinojosa, Jamie Chandler, Sara Najjar, Teresa Ryno, Alvin Lotspeich.
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As we enter the theater, three people are already on stage. Stage left, a tall, handsome busboy (Robert Zwaschka) standing at attention with a tub in his hands. Stage right, a table with two customers (Jim Cherry, Matthew David Barton), one in a red jumpsuit with a shiny blue stripe, the other vice-versa. They nibble, smile vacantly and nod knowingly at each other. We know right away this play is going to be dopey brilliantly dopey, we can only hope.
These gentlemen are the campers the guys who come to brunch every Sunday and sit for hours drinking their bottomless coffees, driving the waitress up the wall and shaving points off their tip for every perceived inadequacy of the staff. And in fact, these two particular campers (identified in the program only as Numba Won and Numba Too) are no ordinary campers they're excellent at what they do, perhaps because their minds are uncluttered by thinking. They just sit there and have inane conversations like:
"Oh yeah, I bought a scanner."
"I agree. Scanners are very cool."
"Computers are the thing nowadays."
"You know it. So is the net."
"Thank garsh for the net."
"Yes. Thank garsh."
In fact, these two hyperrelaxed brunchers seem to be merely the calm eye of their own bizarro hurricane, into which all others around them are being sucked. We start to sense this when their frustrated waitress (Monica Cortez) says things like, "Good garsh, will they ever leave?" Before long, everybody in this expletive-deleted dimension is talking like the campers in fact, "Out to Lunch" is the dirtiest show in the whole Fringe Festival if you're shocked by words like "booty" and "doody" and "frig."
The plot does flag a little as some flimsier characters are woven into the insanity. But in general, if the campers, the waitress, the busboy, the manager (Mark McGriff) or the deranged gunman (Alvin Lotspeich) are in the middle of a scene, you're guaranteed to be falling out of your chair. Written and directed by Joseph Langham, creator of last year's wonderful "Har Har," "Out to Lunch" is full of inspired and original ideas stupid humor, outrageous humor, clever humor, and, oh yes, campy humor. This once, let's not kill the campers.
|AUGUST 28, 2002|
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