The digital magazine of New York indie theater
nytheatre.com review by Pamela Butler
The Internet is certainly the subject of more than one FringeNYC offering
this year, and in this case we get a brisk, funny, and imaginative foray into
online sex. The protagonist, Danny, chemistry guru turned romance novelist,
tells us in advance that we’re in for lots and lots of it. Yes, Tony
Sportiello’s LOL is all about sex online, from inside the bi-fem chat
rooms of the WWW.Poor Danny. This is not a boy meets girl, boy gets girl, etc., kind of story.
He just can’t get laid. When he discovers that girls are getting it on with
girls online, he does what any curious but uninvited male might do—he dons a
female persona and plunges ahead. Thus Karen comes into being, Danny’s
32-year-old, 115-pound, blonde, 36-24-36, female alter ego.Karen, summoning all of Danny’s romantic talent and then some, becomes the
wow of the Net, having more invites to go private than she can handle. In fact
she’s so popular that Danny gives her more and more time to manage her social
life, while he loses sleep, relinquishes work, and not so gradually becomes
overwhelmed by her, to the point where the two of them are battling for control.
He cannot even visit old friends without her popping off her mouth at
inappropriate times and pulling him back to his/her addiction.The cast, staging, and production make this romp sparkle. Greg Skura’s Danny
is both nebbishy and empathetic, but not impossible to see as a love interest.
In a Pygmalion twist, Nicole Taylor animates Danny’s fem side, Karen, with pixie
energy. She gathers zesty strength and speed to nearly swallow her creator
whole. She’s a dynamo, but takes nothing away from CK Allen as Larry, Danny’s
book agent; Jed Dickenson and Heather Gornal as his minimally sexual friends
Michael and Janice; and Debra Whifield as his obnoxious ex-girlfriend Susan.
Karen Swenson Riely gives a poignant and heartfelt portrait of the fragile
Jenny, Karen’s online love interest. The direction and staging by Jerry Less
keep the action fluid and light, ensuring the audience is amused and
entertained. Jeff Bender choreographs the physical disputes with skill. LOL.The play itself is at loose ends and winds up a bit heavy for the style and
subject matter. How Danny finally deals with the monster he has created is left
up in the air, although suggestively so. What happens to Jenny is somewhat
predictable and I found myself fending it off, hoping for a comic, clever twist.
LOL is billed as a cautionary tale, but the tale, beyond the delicious
creation of Karen and what she does to Danny, is secondary to the characters.
Nevertheless, an evening well spent.
August 15, 2005