BWW Reviews: Belly Laughs and Food for Thought at THE DIET SHOW
Many of us have dieted in some way or another, trying to find just the right mix for a healthy lifestyle. Some of us have even fallen off the wagon. Where do you go when you find yourself more confused and overwhelmed than a novice cook attacking an Alton Brown recipe?
Welcome to The Diet Show.
Billed as "a heart-warming production inspiring people to laugh away one pound at a time," this set of personal monologues is being presented at at Stage 72 (in the Triad Theatre, 158 W. 72nd Street) every Saturday at 7 p.m. through March 2.
The cast of ten is almost entirely comprised of former contestants on the NBC reality weight-loss show "The Biggest Loser," - Winners Eric Chopin (season 3) and Bill Germanakos (season 4), At-Home Winners Jim Germanakos (season 4) and Mark Pinhasovich (season 10), Runner-Up Alfredo "Fredo" Dinten (season 10), 2nd Runner-Up Tara Costa (season 7), and contestants Nicole Michalik (season 4), Suzanne Mendonca (season 2) - with the exceptions being a plus-size model (Krista Mays) and comedian (Jeff "Fat Rat Bastard" Pirrami). No one in the cast is a trained professional actor; instead, these are mostly average people who had extraordinary opportunities on television.
Though the cast's performances are fairly well split between serious and funny, they generally lack focus. Each person is given roughly seven to 10 minutes, and some meander through their time while others use it a bit more skillfully. As expected, Mays (the model) and Pirrami (the comedian) were both very self-confident in and easygoing in their performances. Mays' insider knowledge of the fashion model industry and unexpected Spanx demonstration gives a lively and fresh twist to the show. More surprisingly, there are particularly heartfelt stories from Bill Germanakos and the incredibly honest Chopin. Additionally, Pinhasovich and Costa provide especially energetic and empowering motivational performances. And please, whatever you do, don't miss Jim Germanakos' sweet dessert of a finale where he sings our favorite food jingles. The cherry on top is his "Rice-A-Roni" soft-shoe.
The Diet Show is one of the few products out there that could legitimately be called by trendy names like "Dieter Confessions" or "Dieters Anonymous" because its individual long-monologue format presents almost like a a 12-step group meeting. Perhaps a little more focus and some trims - not at the waist, but from the clock - would have tightened the show and presented the best-ever version of this little comedic show.
Photo credit: courtesy of The Diet Show