City Pulse

By PK Greenfield

Parallel Exit’s “I ♥ BOB” begins with controlled chaos choreography and ends with an impressive tap dance. The 12-member cast of professional hoofers and gypsies performs the powerhouse opening and finale in full throttle — entertaining and witty.

The entire cast’s training and technique are evident but squandered between the opening scene and The End as the show delves into pantomime, commedia dell’arte and slapstick. But this is exactly in par with the niche art form that won multiple awards and accolades for Parallel Exit. This latest work by Mark Lonergan (Director), Ray Hesselink (Choreographer) and Wayne Barker (Composer), introduces a new approach to their collaboration with dance, music, physical comedy and visual storytelling. Most notably is Mr. Barker’s original composition. It creatively sweeps from melodic melodrama to zip, zing and buzz — capturing onomatopoeia reminiscent of classic Looney Tunes.

Photos by Jim Moore

“I ♥ BOB” follows the story of its namesake, an altruistic deliveryman for the company “Fed Up” who thinks he is a superhero. His journey traverses New York City from the daily grind of commuting and work to socializing and speed dating; a happy-go-lucky menace in a city of millions and millionaires. Along the way we encounter a couple of antagonists who thrive on power and money — juxtaposing Bob’s life in the metropolis. The high jinks go from Bob crashing the stock market to falling in love with the cleaning lady of the Statue of Liberty.

With Ryan Kasprzak as the one we heart; he conveys his best BOB when he taps, shuffles and scuffs the floor. The cast also features: Kelly Sheehan, Mike Kirsch, Shereen Hickman, C.K. Edwards, Aleka Emerson, David Kremenitzer, Kevin Loreque, Adrienne Reid, Tim Roller, Robin Levine, Britta Whittenberg.

They all deliver the goods when choreographed with nods and winks to Hollywood movie musicals and on occasion there is a glimpse of attitude, développé, and posé when the action veers into screwball comedy, or in this case, screwballet.

Photos by Jim Moore

“I ♥ BOB” is billed as a “comic ballet.” The prior is subjective and the latter is null and void in the traditional sense of the word. But if you get a kick out of buffoonery, enjoy a pastiche on Broadway and Hollywood musicals, and the flimflam of life in New York City, this is for you.

Buy a ticket and support live theater.

Now playing through July 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Joyce SoHo
155 Mercer St.,
New York, NY.
(212) 242-0800 or
visit: http://www.joyce.org.

Click here for more on Parallel Exit.

Originally published July 2012
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