nytheatre.com review by Debbie Hoodiman
Peter Loureiro, whose resemblance to the young Christopher Walken is
striking, has written and stars in Citizen Walken, a show which
purports to take the audience on a wild ride inside the mind of one of
the most talented character actors of the past few decades.
August 15, 2003
Loureiro works on a stage with two chairs and a plate of brownies, where he invites several guests to join him, talk show style. The guests are all played by Christopher Wisner, who seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun suggesting (rather than impersonating) a host of famous people; it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch him play. I won’t give away his characters, but I will say that the highlight of Wisner’s performance is his James Lipton, which made me laugh out loud.
As for Loureiro, well, his timing is often dead on, and it is clear that the asymmetrical comedy of the show is inspired by Walken’s roles in movies such as Annie Hall and Pulp Fiction. Loureiro’s strength as an actor is his confidence and ability to take his time and hold the audience even through the pauses. He moves very well as Walken, and Wisner and Loureiro work well off one another, with Loureiro seeming like the (albeit odd) straight man, allowing Wisner freedom to go all out.
Although I did appreciate the quirkiness of the idea behind Citizen Walken, I had trouble figuring out what Loureiro is trying to say about Walken except that he thinks he’s weird. The many scenes, including interviews, stories, commercials (my favorite part), a song and dance, and a children’s story, are a lot of fun and often clever, but the character doesn’t change throughout the ordeal and doesn’t seem to have much at stake. In short, I would have liked to have seen Loureiro’s comedy touch on something truer or something with more depth, as that is the funniest kind of comedy.