Scotch and Water
Brett C. Leonard
Parkside Lounge, New York
What do actors do in their spare time? They go to bars like other people. The difference, if you are part of the LAByrinth Theater Company, is that you close the Parkside Lounge for an hour and turn your leisure into a comic play.
The cast of nine is worthy of a West End venue. These are film,TV and Broadway regulars having great fun on the Lower East side and allowing their friends, not to mention the public, to share in it.
The feel is very like London's first incarnation of Conor McPherson's The Weir in the bowels of the New Ambassadors Theatre. The audience sits in a real bar during Happy Hour, beers at $3 a pint, with the football on TV.
The bar is like any other, with its slightly off the wall regulars chatting about baseball (What was the line up of the 1927 Yankees and which is the best team ever?), pool and existence. They know each other well and their barroom meetings are part of life.
Yukon Bob (played by Stephen Adly Guirgis), Jim (David Zayas, Guirgis, the writer of and Zayas the prison guard in Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train respectively) are brash and have great fun at the expense of Max Casella's Timmy. He fantasises about being a famous ten-pin bowler and is about to become a father. The baby photos in his wallet, though are his own from thirty-odd years before.
Into the happy company comes a great comic creation, Jinn S. Kim, normally LAByrinth's producer, as the man in the suit. He drinks five bourbons, two lagers and disappears having had his fifteen seconds of fame.
He is the hors d'oeuvre. The main course is the stressed Danny, a lovely performance from Trevor Long. Danny is an unfulfilled man with an IQ of 167 and a pistol. Unfortunately, despite numerous threats, the regulars take the maddened gunman in their stride. The more that he threatens, the more they laugh at him.
Inevitably, with liberal use of the eponymous drink, Danny comes back to earth and becomes one of the gang, forevermore.
This show without a director, is packed with great laughs and bodes well for Brett C. Leonard's two upcoming films. These are a version of his play, Jailbait, starring Stephen Adly Guirgis, and a new project, Feliz Navidad, both of which should be shot in 2003.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher