Lost! How a Certain TV Mega-Hunk Stole My Identity
nytheatre.com review by Kimberly Wadsworth
August 15, 2007
It's a good sign when your first laugh comes only two seconds into a show.
Lost! How A Certain TV Mega-Hunk Stole My Identity is the creation of Josh Halloway, who back in 2004 noticed he was becoming strangely popular. He was invited to more auditions, he was able to get reservations at any restaurant he chose, and out of the blue, he was getting endorsement offers for hair products. Bizarrely, though, he was often immediately turned away when he arrived at these same auditions or restaurants with the apology "we thought you were someone else." Finally he discovered the truth—he shared a name with one of the actors cast in the wildly popular ABC television show, Lost.
Thus was born this inspired romp of a show, a fictionalized retelling of Halloway's "brush with fame" and coming-to-terms with unexpected double identity. While there are plenty of Lost references for the show's fans—and I should admit that I'm one—mostly the TV series isn't mentioned at all. Halloway riffs on vaudeville, auditions, comic books, tea in London, preteen television shows, self-help groups, film score soundtracks, candy bars, reality television, goldfish, Nixon in China, and the possible divinity of Eric Bogosian. But unlike other pop-culture-reference-heavy shows, which seem to rely on dropping names alone, Lost! uses them as building blocks to support Halloway's tale, so instead of being a muddle, it all fits together—even his extended spot-on parody of Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth. (No, really.) Fans of Lost will also recognize his use of elements of the show, including its flashback sequences—here called "whooshbacks"—to provide "character development," or often just for fun.
Director Andy Donald also makes use of the show's eerie theme song throughout, and has smoothly worked in other multimedia such as slides and pre-filmed sketches, three of which include celebrity cameos (much as I really want to name names, they're too delicious a surprise). But wisely, most of the show is carried by the actors, with the boundlessly-energetic Halloway at the helm. He's ably supported by Dylan Dawson as his long-term college buddy and roommate, who's convinced the whole thing could make a great reality show for Bravo, and by Victoria Freed, Halloway's Lost-obsessed girlfriend who occasionally gets confused which Josh Halloway she actually wants.
I was stunned to review my notes and find so much was packed into only an hour; this much material could fill two. But the show is nearly seamless, and is driven with such energy that the audience is eagerly carried along on this thrill ride.