Oscar E Moore

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Lola-Lola – Monkey business at NY Int’l Fringe Festival

August 15th, 2011 by Oscar E Moore

There’s a monkey in John’s bed.  No, not a monkey but a female chimpanzee brought back from Tanzania by his wife, Mary since their marriage has become stale.  John is a professor of anthropology who firmly believes that there is no missing link in the evolution of man. 

But wait, Lola-Lola, the chimp begins to connect with him to the extent that he falls in love with her as he teaches her to stand erect, dance a fox-trot, fornicate and wear fashionable high heels. 

In this bizarre two act play which starts out as a great idea and then grows tedious as it unfolds much too slowly we get the arguments both pro Darwin and anti.   And that animals have feelings too. 

It is written by Peter Michalos as a series of disjointed short scenes that director Rebecca Hengstenberg fails to pull together fast enough to keep our attention from wandering.

Lola-Lola is sometimes very funny and surprisingly touching.  It appears that Mr. Michalos has been inspired by A. R. Gurney’s Sylvia (a dog) and Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia?  But he is not in their league yet.  Lola-Lola needs more work and lots of editing.

Melissa Sussman makes a terrific Lola-Lola.  She has the mannerisms of the simian down pat and connects with her human family with gestures while we hear her speaking her thoughts.  Nice.  Later on when she is given a Bionic Voice Box by mad Doctor/Scientist Godfrey (Dennis Z. Gagomiros – who plays three other characters – all exceptionally well) unfortunately nary a simian trait remains.

Christopher Sutton makes an excellent John.  Torn between his work, his reputation, his wife (Leanne Barrineau) who is having an affair with his best friend Ted (Colin McFadden), his blossoming love for Lola-Lola, his religious faith and his sanity he is believable throughout and dead pan funny.

Will they live happily ever after as husband and chimpanzee?  Will they be more famous than Lady Gaga?  Will Mary’s documentation of this affair “The Lola Chronicles” become a best seller? 

Answers will be found at Venue 6 – The Living Theatre, 21 Clinton St.

www.PeterMichalos.com     www.fringenyc.org

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