Review: DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT Is A Play Worth Seeking Out

By: Jun. 10, 2020
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Review: DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT Is A Play Worth Seeking Out It has been said that comedy is always the worst day in someone's life. In the case of DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT, comedy is the worst two years in Peter Michael Marino's life, which he relates in his one-man show to the hilarious benefit of anyone lucky enough to have bought a ticket. The show is a well-reviewed and well-respected one that has played physical performances in the past but that Marino has been performing online in Zoom Rooms over the three months of quarantine, and if the show loses anything in the translation, this writer is having a hard time pinpointing what it might be.

At Monday night's performance of Desperately Seeking The Exit, audience members entered the ZOOM Room any time, beginning fifteen minutes before showtime. There, it was a lighthearted visit with Mr. Marino, who appeared to know a few of the ten to fifteen people watching, people who hadn't disabled their camera, as this shy guy did. As the time neared for the start of the program, Marino urged people to enjoy the show, laugh out loud, have fun being visible, but to remember that they actually ARE visible, and please avoid eating food, doing housework, or picking their nose while watching (some of the guests were more apt to take his advice than others). Then, for one solid hour, Peter Michael Marino presented an actual piece of theater over the internet. Skeptics and dubious people convinced that theater in a streaming platform is not possible need to check out Marino's act because his one-man show is one of the most candid, casual, frank, funny and entertaining trips to the theater that can be taken while in the comfort of one's home and one's pajamas. Furthermore, seeing all the attendees in their ZOOM tile really enhanced the experience, because the story Marino is telling is a fantastical one, and seeing the shocked, surprised, and bemused faces of the other members of the audience provided as many chuckles as Mr. Marino himself, to say nothing of the giggles induced by the laughs coming from a man with the handle @craigshaynak -- entertainers would be well advised to hire this man to sit in on all their shows. His laughter and demeanor are infectious. When the play was over, the audience members at my home were satisfied and happy we had tuned in, so enjoyable a night of theater had we witnessed.

Review: DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT Is A Play Worth Seeking Out

Desperately Seeking The Exit tells the tale of how Mr. Marino, one night while in an altered state, decided it would be a good idea to write a stage musical of the 80s cult movie Desperately Seeking Susan. Never having written a musical play before, Marino was fascinated by how easily the project came to fruition and, after a few bumps along the way, found himself living in London, where the play would have its world premiere. To say that things didn't exactly meet the vision in his head would be understating his trauma, but it is that trauma that makes this one-man show so very good -- that and Marino's own complete and total likability. Unfathomably charming in the crudest and coolest of ways, Marino holds nothing back in his insistence that his audience knows him and his story. He speaks openly about his sexuality, his enjoyment of marijuana, his propensities and proclivities, and his dislikes and distastes. He is willing to take a shot at anyone in the story who committed a crime against him, but he is also willing to forgive them for making his life hell. When all is said and done, the audience knows why he loves London and what he hated about London, how much he adored the people involved with Desperately Seeking Susan, and how much he wanted to strangle them, why he is proud he did this, and why he probably wouldn't do it again. Peter Michael Marino has taken those hellacious years of his life and turned them into a positive - and Desperately Seeking The Exit IS a positive. Artists who have been through similar experiences will nod their heads while laughing, and civilians who haven't lived through the struggle will just laugh, wondering how it could possibly be true.

It is true, though; nobody could make this stuff up.

Marino's decision to take the play online was a smart one and it works remarkably well for him - it's lucky, too, because the current health crisis caused his out of town bookings to be canceled and audience members who would have seen him live can now do that for a mere $10.00 payment. Each time Mr. Marino performs the show, the demand for further programming becomes apparent. His most recent appearance was meant to be his last one, but within the following days, he received requests for more performances, and, so, will be appearing online on June 18 & 22 at 7 pm as part of the Queerly Festival - It would be wise to catch it. It's just that simple.

Below, read the press release for DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT and information on how to see upcoming performances. Photos by David Rodgers


June 10, 2020

Pioneering Pandemic Hit "Desperately Seeking the Exit" Adds Additional Online Live Performances

YOUR COMPUTER, PLANET EARTH - After pioneering the live digital theater domain during the pandemic, and selling out eight weeks of "Desperately Seeking the Exit" live streams, Peter Michael Marino now teams up with Cincy Fringe for these special events as he shares the critically acclaimed, notorious tale of the making and unmaking of his West End-Blondie-Madonna musical disaster, "Desperately Seeking Susan."

In 2007, American actor/writer Peter Michael Marino wrote a musical based on the Madonna film "Desperately Seeking Susan," featuring the hit songs of Blondie. It opened on London's West End...and closed a month later. Whoops! This high-octane, comical solo train ride fills in the blanks of how the $6 million musical was made and unmade. From hatching the idea to deals with producers, MGM, Debbie Harry, and even Madonna...all the way to thrilling workshops, dangerous previews, scathing reviews, closing night, and beyond. Experience this notorious award-winning tale LIVE on your computer.

WHAT: Desperately Seeking the Exit: Online Live

WHO: Written & Performed by Peter Michael Marino. Original Direction by John Clancy.


7:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, June 18

7:00 p.m. EST, Monday, June 22

WHERE: Your computer or tablet



RUNNING TIME: 65 minutes



Review: DESPERATELY SEEKING THE EXIT Is A Play Worth Seeking Out