BOTTOM LINE: A one-man show exploring the hypocritical shallowness of gay culture.
VGL 5’4” TOP, part of this year’s Frigid Festival, is a 50-minute, one-man essay about the state of affairs in gay culture. Writer/performer and self-proclaimed “intellectual homosexual” Lucas Brooks takes to the stage in his underwear, armed with an extended monologue, and he’s had it up to here (my hand is somewhere between my eyeball and my forehead).
You see, Lucas is rather short (5’4”, as you may have ascertained from the title) and, contrary to many people’s expectations, he’s a top (for those who are confused by this gay sex term, just think a little harder).
Feeling like an outsider to most of the typical formulas and expectations of gay culture, Lucas goes on to dissect it and extrapolate the multitude of ways that gay men are terrible to and judgmental about each other, which is particularly irksome when you realize this is exactly what gays are endlessly fighting from the outside world. “Types," or the fact that gay men don’t think twice about coldly rejecting someone based on their height or their hairiness or even their race, just because those characteristics don’t match their proclaimed preference, particularly aggravates Lucas. What happened, he asks, to the high school boys who all their straight girl friends secretly (or not) wanted to marry because they were so sweet compared to their straight male counterparts?
Brooks is animated and smart and the progression of his argument is prodded along by prompts from his computer as he signs up for an online dating profile (“age,” “height,” “relationship status,” etc.). His writing is intelligent and insightful and sometimes pretty funny, and his performance was disrupted only by a few missed sound cues from his talking computer (but, hey, that’s part of the charm of a festival show).
Here’s to hoping that Lucas can reach the people that need to hear what he has to say. It’s a bit odd to put it this way, but the ideal audience for VGL 5’4” TOP consists of shallow and judgmental gay men. So, if you think you fit that description…you should go see this show, right? Unfortunately, I have a feeling he’ll spend most of his time preaching to the choir.
(VGL 5'4" TOP plays as part of the Frigid Festival at the Red Room, 85 East 4th Street, through March 1, 2013. Remaining performances are Tuesday, February 26 at 10:45PM; and Friday, March 1 at 10:50PM. Tickets are $10 and are available by visiting smarrtix.com or by calling 212.868.4444. For more festival information, visit frigidnewyork.info.)