Superschlub saves the day

From left: Aleka Emerson, Kevin Loreque, Adrienne Reid, Ryan Kasprzak, Britta Whittenberg and David Kremenitzer perform "I Love Bob."

The classic definition of comedy involves a wedding in the final moments, and Parallel Exit’s new show, “I Love Bob,” definitely has one. It also has some clever staging, copulating pigeons, and an automated wake-up routine.

But the players exhibit so much violent, contemptible behavior and snark that one wants to call it a tragedy.  The cast of 12 doesn’t talk much; the characters tap dance, tumble, skulk and treat one another viciously. Two villains, a female real estate mogul whose name is a bad pun and a male lifestyle guru, exploit everyone in their paths; each commands a retinue of henchpersons. The leading characters, a delivery guy in a Superman T-shirt (Ryan Kasprzak) and a maid (Kelly Sheehan) who dreams of love, are both bundles of clichés, but they pull off a satisfactory parody of Fred and Ginger.

Mark Lonergan directs and Ray Hesselink choreographs a scenario with overtones of both “Snow White” and “Cinderella.”  The forgettable score is by Wayne Barker, who did the music for “Peter and the Starcatcher.”  The Statue of Liberty plays a major role, evoked by projections and costuming. Speed dating and makeovers are plot points; the whole enterprise has the feel of a fraternity theatrical staged by the frat’s gay members.

The grand finale of “I Love Bob” evokes Susan Stroman’s madcap dances for the New York City Ballet.  Hapless, hopeless Bob and buck-toothed Vera triumph in the end, but the 70-minute-long piece, covering a day in the life of driven Manhattanites, is a slog. Audience members, probably friends of the ensemble, laughed a lot. Much talent is displayed here, but as a whole, “I Love Bob” misfires.

If you go:
Parallel Exit
“I Love Bob”
Through Sunday
Joyce SoHo
155 Mercer St.
$15-$25, 212-242-0800
www.joyce.org


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