Zipperface!!?!: The Hobo Musical
nytheatre.com review by Matt Johnston
August 20, 2009
Zipperface!!?! The Hobo Musical is silly. Very, very silly. And while that is both its greatest triumph and greatest flaw—I will say, as plainly as I can, you will have a good time at this show, and you will laugh plenty.
The event of the show is one homeless man with a chip implanted in his brain who is attempting to make a piece of theatre for us all based on a very bad movie in the early '90s called "Zipperface." This chip in his brain allows him to write the show in his head and magically sort of send it into the actors' brains (where they come from, I don't know). The plot of this madly metatheatrical event is pretty simple. There's this guy running all over the place killing hookers, and a female cop, Lisa Rider, the detective trying to crack the case. That's about it. Other characters float in and out, including a love interest for Lisa and some other townsfolk, but it's all wrapped up in complete silliness.
What I liked about the show is that the jokes are great, the evening is generally very amusing, and it is refreshing to not see a show take itself too seriously. What is tough about it was that it is kind of a one-trick pony. There is this big metatheatrical joke at the center of the show that says, "Hey, we're doing a show!!" complete with incredibly heightened acting, singing, emotion, etc—always reminding themselves and you that it is theatre (see, for example, "Finale Song," the apparent title, and chorus of, you guessed it, the finale song). So there is nobody, not even our sometime protagonist Lisa Rider, that we can identify with or care about. So after awhile it kind of felt like an hour and a half of the same joke.
That being said, that joke is good, and all the jokes inside it are good. And, as a side note, most of the actors are not singers, and while I know that's the point of the whole metatheatrical, camp city idea—it just would have made the experience more enjoyable I think to have some really good singers (as a notable exception, Lauren Perri, who plays Lisa, has a wonderful voice).
But do I recommend Zipperface? Absolutely. Everyone in the audience had a great time, as did I, and there's plenty of silliness to go around. I would give it a shot, I think you'll have fun.