BWW Review: Raucous, Rocking YOU OR WHATEVER I CAN GET at Flying V Theater
For those of us who have survived the dating scene (by sheer dumb luck), it can be positively mortifying to see all our most embarrassing missteps laid out onstage for everyone to see.
Every cheap six-pack, every shot of Jaegermeister, every bong toke, every horrific hook-up-both real and pathetically attempted-not to mention the days spent in video game Purgatory...
Then again, we survived it, right? Why not laugh our tails off at our younger selves, and quietly heave a sigh of relief that it's all in the past. Kind of. Mostly. (Just don't tell the nieces). (Please, God, don't let them be as stupid as we were ...)
Flying V has carved out a niche in the DC theater scene by producing unabashedly joyful, adventurous and original material. Their latest offering, the rock musical You, or whatever I can get, is a creation of an ensemble that is tight, talented, and as ready for prime time as it gets. Its subject: the sometimes awkward, usually crude but often hilarious minefield that is young adulthood. With their hearts on their sleeves and their warts-and-all reckless abandon, the cast charms you from start to finish.
At the center of the action we find Phil-the endearing, winning Vaughn Irving-who is rapidly approaching the big 3-0 and about to marry his longtime steady-or so he thinks. In a scene all too familiar to many of us, his girl Lisa-Autumn Seavey Hicks, who embodies the confusion of a 20-something with ease-dumps him before he can even break out the ring.
Why? Why even ask? At that age we are as inarticulate as we are desperate to understand each other.
Crushed, Phil consoles himself by hanging out with his sister and housemate Jen (the whip-smart Farrell Parker), whose love life seems as wild as his is comatose. He is joined by his best buddy Dennis (Doug Wilder, in a career-making role), whose crude asides and sexual adventurism have gotten him into trouble yet again. Meanwhile another housemate, Tori-the excellent Suzanne Edgar-awkwardly attempts an online tryst with her boyfriend, quietly wondering whether it's worth the hassle.
Through a briskly-paced series of scenes, staged in numerous parts of town and aided by set designer Jos. A. Musumeci's turntable, we follow these four friends through an all-too-familiar series of fumbles and stumbles. They are propelled by a house band that belts out original tunes which for once aren't cringe-inducing or indulgent (as original musicals can sometimes be). The journey is a true roller-coaster of crude humor laced with passion and a sincere search for a suitable mate. No stunt is too embarrassing, no language too rude for inclusion here; Friends it most definitely ain't.
Director and Flying V co-founder Jason Schlafstein has scored another hit here, and the time between the show's first run at the Fringe Festival and now has been well spent giving the show more shape and coherence. Steve Przybylski deserves kudos for his twin roles as Musical Director and lead guitarist, and Kathryn Kawecki does a find job decking out the cast in everything from boxers and panties on out.
It's no secret that I am a big fan of a company whose youth and enthusiasm is matched by their talent; they don't always create classics, but then again who does? What matters is that they give it everything they've got. But this one, You or Whatever I can get, is the genuine item; young adults behaving badly, but doing it with a brash style that leaves you grinning all the way out the door.
AUDIENCE ADVISORY: You or Whatever I can get features (im-)mature situations, heaving drinking, dope-smoking and brief full-frontal nudity. So forget the kids, folks -- not advisable for youngsters younger than 18.
Running time: 2 hours with one intermission.
You, or Whatever I Can Get runs February 11-27; performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Performances are at the Silver Spring Black Box, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD.
Tickets can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://flyingv.brownpapertickets.com, or at the door starting one hour before the performance.