I <3 Bob
July 30, 2012
It is 7:00am in the Big Apple and a tapping musical number ensues as Bob goes about his morning routine, drinks his coffee and changes from superman pajamas to his “Fedups” delivery uniform. Channels of pedestrians soon join him, tapping along in the notorious New York hustle - camera-obsessed tourists, a street dancer, and a comedy show ticket guy included.
I <3 Bob: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Guy takes us through a day in the life of the good-intentioned, though comically oblivious, New-Yorker Bob (Ryan Kasprzak). Intertwined are the storylines of the fantastically awkward Statue of Liberty worker, Vera (Kelly Sheehan), the money-making “Let’s give your life a makeover” Dwight (Mike Kirsch), and the Cruella De Vil meets Donald Trump, Libby T. Grump (Shereen Hickman). We see high energy tap- dancing, show-girl dancing, and theatrical movement, along with quirky sound effects, video interludes, pigeon puppets, and singing all in under an hour and a half.
In their third production at Joyce Soho, Parallel Exit began creation of this piece in a Joyce Soho Dance and Theater Partnership Residency. Partnered with dramaturge Kirsten Bowen, Parallel Exit’s Wayne Barker (Original Score), Ray Hesselink (Choreographer) and Mark Lonergan (Director) concocted a truly hilarious yet endearing multimedia dance theater work.
As Bob goes about his delivery route, he causes (accidentally of course) a stock market crash, igniting the panic among a crowd of Wall Streeters who begin a series of sharp, gestural movements complimented with caricatured, ridiculously over-the-top facial expressions. By 11:00am poor Bob learns he’s been evicted due to a switch in building ownership to the greedy Libby T. Grump and joins the homeless with a personalized “home sweet home” cardboard box.
One of the most memorable scenes of the show, which evolves into a romantic comedy, finds Vera and Bob on a quest to find someone through speed dating at the encouragement of the super- famous Dwight. The snippets of the worst speed dating experiences imaginable have the audience laughing non-stop.
Sheehan shines in her role as Vera, embodying a bizarre, uncomfortable, perpetually tripping over her own feet young woman. As she and Bob realize they just might be made for each other, they go to Central Park all dolled up and perform a duet that falls in and out of serious dance to silly, contorted, mismatched movement.
It isn’t until the wild, colorful finale where Vera turns damsel in distress, stranded atop the Statue of Liberty’s shoulder (meanwhile while Libby T. Grump has finally broken in and begun to give the statue a face reconfiguration to prove herself more powerful than the current Statue owner, (Dwight), that her and Bob finally seem to click and the whole lot busts into a celebratory dance routine.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY – Jennifer Thompson