I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL!
nytheatre.com review by Kelly Aliano
August 15, 2009
In the web series Red vs. Blue, a character suggests that one of internet users' major contributions to society is "a lot of pictures of cats." These pictures, which depict cats in bizarre poses, are usually accompanied by clever catchphrases or slogans, meant to narrate what is happening in the photo. These popular internet photos (seen at ICanHasCheezburger.com/) are the inspiration and source material for I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL!, written by Kristyn Pomranz and Katherine Steinberg with additional music by Mike Gillespie, directed by Karina Bennett, and presented by Sauce and Co. The show is a delightful, clever romp through the ridiculous realm of internet humor. The show also proves to be a must-see at this summer's FringeNYC Festival.
The story centers around Mr. Whiskers, a cat who is uploaded to the world wide web after displaying his lust for his owners' cheeseburger. The play follows the newly christened Lolcat on his quest to find a cheeseburger of his own. Throughout his journey, our feline friend meets numerous memorable characters, including a Lolrus, a fellow Lolcat in love with math, and another waiting for his own cheeseburger to fall from the sky.
The production is laugh-out-loud hilarious, while still being able subtly to present a commentary on our mediatized existence. It throws into relief the obsession we all have with the imaginary online world. Lolcat discovers a whole wonderland of adventure within the ether of the internet, but one with little applicability IRL (that is, in real life).
I Can Has Cheezburger is extremely well-written. It is able to be overflowing with jokes while still telling a coherent, albeit outrageous, tale. The text is punctuated with clever one-liners and witty wordplay, particularly through its use of internet acronyms and shorthand. The music is quite catchy and the lyrics are gleefully humorous.
All of the performers give high-energy interpretations of their characters, lending them spirit and charm. The audience is able to sympathize with the characters' individual plights even in light of the work's overwhelming (and self-aware) absurdity. The production also benefits from the brilliant choice to use a screen as the backdrop. It is employed periodically to display the Lolcat photos themselves, punctuating the droll tale with funny visual punches. Of course, if one were not regularly amused by Lolcats then this piece might not be appealing. It is hard to imagine, however, any person who could find nothing to laugh at in this show.
If Lolcats are indeed one of the Internet Generation's contributions to society then this piece is theatre's contribution to that cultural phenomenon. It is a rare theatrical treat. To quote an individual impressed by the queue outside the theatre waiting to be admitted to the Cherry Lane Theatre, "Yeah Lolcats!" Yeah Lolcats, indeed!