Seattle Review: Lobby Hero
Loyalty and integrity are up for examination in Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero. Seattle Public Theater's new production of the play almost achieves theatrical nirvana thanks to some of the most detailed acting of the year. A key casting mistake makes for a tedious evening with enormous potential to electrify.
Set in the lobby of a
Under the direction of Rita Giomi, this Lobby Hero has all the potential in the world. A casting error makes for an uneven evening full of some thrilling highs and some tragic lows. Giomi has cast three of
This casting blunder creates a perfect opportunity to discuss a dilemma plaguing the fringe stages of
Brown's performance looks so out of place thanks to the stellar work of Evan Whitfield, Sharia Pierce, and Roy Stanton. Their organic approach makes the material glow. The fabulous trio easily negotiates Lonergan's frequent transitions between comedy and drama. This Lobby Hero walks the line between farce and tragedy.
Whitfield is positively charming as rent-a-cop Jeff. He offers a dense performance that gives voice to the countless civil servants with thankless jobs. While his energy dips in his scenes with Brown, he recovers quickly. As NYC cops Bill and Dawn, Stanton and Pierce give truly electrifying performances. They fill their tricky relationship with a rich history full of delicious subtext.
The design team provides appropriately realistic creations. Craig B. Wollam's sleek set depicts an upper class apartment building with a twinge of theatricality. He creates plenty of space for Lonergan's tense moments to play out. Andrew Duff's lighting is always appropriate, Chelsea Burn's uniforms are dead-on, and Jay Weinland's sound is full of the noises of
Unique themes and outstanding performances make this Lobby Hero nearly irresistible. Seattle Public Theater continues to improve with each season on the shores of Greenlake. This is proof that one key mistake can sink even the most buoyant ships. Bad acting habits that don't suit this material clearly need to be broken. This isn't the first Giomi production with casting problems. A more appropriate actor could easily have made this the hallmark of a superb directing career.
Lobby Hero runs through April 30th. For tickets call (206) 524-1300, or visit www.seattlepublictheater.org
Top: Evan Whitfield as Jeff, Roy Stanton as Bill, and Connell Brown Jr. as William
Bottom: Sharia Pierce as Dawn and Roy Stanton as Bill
Photo Credit: Paul Bestock