OUT TO LUNCH
nytheatre.com review by Martin Denton
If you are wondering why we have the New York International Fringe
Festival, see Joseph Langham’s Out to Lunch. Here is a gutsy,
adventurous new play with a big cast and big ideas, that almost
certainly wouldn’t be produced anywhere else, and that absolutely
deserves to be seen. It’s a fancy, wildly subversive, brazenly
political, dada feast; thing “Laugh In” meets Horse Country meets
The Chairs meets - I don’t know - Jerry Springer? Out to Lunch
is smart and shameless and sassy and inventive and raw and anarchic and
disorganized. What more could you want from a FringeNYC show?
August 15, 2002
Out to Lunch is ostensibly about two “campers” - a pair of geeky losers who spend their entire Sunday parked at a table having a relaxing brunch. These two are out to lunch in both senses of that phrase; they are the play’s Vladimir and Estragon; or perhaps they’re stand-ins for us; perhaps not. What they are for sure is clueless and inert, and as they go through the same motions of eating and drinking that they execute every Sunday, and repeat the same conversation, they are blithely unaware of the chaotic - apocalyptic? - shift that’s going on around them.
Which includes, in no particular order, a waitress who takes off all her clothes, a restaurant manager who dreams of being a ballet dancer; a visit from the restaurant’s fearsome owner, who wears a crown and whose arrival is heralded by a pair of sexily clad women; and a psychopath with a gun who turns up on more than one occasion hoping that he’s arrived at a suitable destination for a massacre (“Is this an elementary school?” he asks our hapless heroes at one point. “Is this the Olympics?”).
It would be frightening if it weren’t so funny; or is it the other way around? Langham captures the irrationality of this particular moment in our history with remarkable incisiveness. Very particular, I should add: there are lines in Out to Lunch about Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban smoking in restaurants that suggest Langham has been writing new material as recently as yesterday. Out to Lunch features eleven actors , the most memorable of whom is Clint McCown who plays the improbably and absolutely accurately named JesterDishwasherFrenchCook.
See Out to Lunch. It will make you laugh, and make you think and generally unsettle you. As I said, what more could you want from a FringeNYC show?