BWW Review: LOBBY HERO AT 4TH Wall Theatre Company
Kenneth Lonergan's LOBBY HERO is a squeamish peek at what goes down while the rest of us are sleeping. It's like lifting a stepping stone and finding lots of worms writhing underneath- we are disturbed and yet we can't look away. With themes of sexism, racism, and social injustice, it's not a show for the faint of heart.
The story begins simply enough. It's New York City in an apartment lobby (beautifully rendered by Ryan McGettigan) some time in the small hours of the night. Jeff, a lobby security guard, is trying to get a stronger foothold on life. He's had a string of bad luck and is ready to grow up...sort of. His boss, William, is more than eager to give Jeff life advice about how to get ahead, but when William's brother is implicated in a crime William finds he doesn't have all the answers after all. Meanwhile, Jeff is infatuated with a young, female cop, Dawn, who is struggling with her own ethical dilemma, courtesy of her older, experienced police partner - a man with a gift for manipulation and distortion.
The cast is pretty sublime. Adam Gibbs plays Jeff with great comedic timing and earnest restlessness. (I was shocked to realize this is the same actor who brilliantly played the serious and somber Asher Lev at Theater LaB Houston.) Joseph "Joe P" Palmore is adept at playing William, a man who is proud to work for what he's got. As Dawn, Chelsea Ryan McCurdy inhabits her character like a second skin. She's brash, she's vulnerable, and she can wield a working class New York accent with the best of them. Drake Simpson takes the production to another level as the crooked Bill; Simpson understands the power of subtlety and timing, which are crucial skills to own when playing someone who is arguably a sociopath.
Directed by Kim Tobin-Lehl and Jennifer Dean, LOBBY HERO is realistic and gritty with characters that are built from deep within. The play is an unusual blend of funny and deadly serious, a drama that realizes the moment when it's time for a laugh. It also speaks volumes about innocence and evil and the murky territory in between.
LOBBY HERO plays at 4th Wall Theatre Company from May 11 - June 3.
STUDIO 101, 1824 Spring st, Houston TX 77007
Photo Credit: Gabriella Nissen
*LOBBY HERO is for mature audiences due to adult themes and strong language.