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.
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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:
“I Love Bob”
155 Mercer St.