Theatre: Theatre at St. Clements | Company/Producer: The Layre
Kaitlin Monte, Joey Murray & Scott Martin in The Hole.
BOTTOM LINE: If you like musicals, drag shows, and some good ol' gratuitous silliness then you’ll like this show.
Eager to see The Hole, I entered the lobby of The Theatre at St. Clements and was greeted by a beautiful body in a tiny black Speedo. Immediately, I knew what I was getting myself into. “Must be a family show,” I nodded to myself, “a big, gay, drug-filled, prostitute-loving, naked-man-baring, innuendo-laden, melodramatic, family show.” More or less, I was right. By more, I mean there was much more chiseled man-body to be seen. And by less, I mean less than a teeny, tiny Speedo was worn. Oh! And, I almost forgot, there’s singing, lots and lots of singing. The Hole, filled with many mostly-naked men, one crazy little lesbian, and a bitchy drag queen, is not incredibly deep but it’s a good time.
Glam rock Nicky, (Joey Murray), is a struggling actor living in the city. His best friend, Nadia, (Kaitlin Monte), is a prostitute, enabler, and isn't going to win mother of the year anytime soon. They get wasted and pop on down to their favorite East Village club of debauchery, The Hole, where Didi (Stephanie Spano), who is crazy-mad-in-horny-love with Nadia, is spinning. Nicky’s arch nemesis, Phil, (Alex Michaels), aka “Queen LaQueefa,” is performing that night. From there, things get a little absurd. Well, actually, things got absurd long before that when Nadia “forgot” she had a baby (no one even noticed that she was pregnant in the first place). The absurdity continues when they check the baby (Xavier Rice) at the door with the Tourette Syndrome coat check boy (Ari Gold) then, after they watch LaQueefa’s drag show, they spill an 8-ball of coke on the bathroom floor, on which various people proceed to have various forms of sex in various positions, then some people die and go to gold lamay heaven. The end.
Murray (who also wrote the book) is a solid performer. Charming with great comedic timing, he knows how to run with a campy joke. My favorite moments were the glimpses of sincerity that slipped into his performance. Spano simply steals the show with her earnest, heart wrenching, rendition of the song “One Heart, One Bitch.” The girl’s got pipes and acting chops to boot. I mean, she made the question, “Can I land on your landing strip?” sound like the most romantic proposal in the world, come on! Michaels as Phil/Queen LaQueefa is superb. Like the recently late, always great, Patrick Swayze as Vida in “To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar,” Michaels plays LaQueefa as a woman, not a man playing a woman. (And, girl, his make-up is flawless!)
The music, by Robert Baumgartner Jr., (additional lyrics by Heidi Heilig), is fun with some tight composition and a handful of damned good songs, especially the group numbers, “Ready to Go,” “Fucking Disaster,” Phil’s “Guttersnipe, Nightlife” and the aforementioned, “One Heart, One Bitch.” This show isn’t going to change anyone’s life but I don’t think it’s meant to. The performances are great, the story is nonsensical fun, and the music is good (great band, by the way including Justin Hosek on bass, Kurt Gellersted on guitar, Andrew Potenza on drums, and Baumgartner on keyboard).
In this play, no one is safe and nothing is sacred. It’s a ridiculous musical comedy that sometimes, even though it’s done well, borders on a little too much camp, (much like LaQueefa advises Nicky about his eyeliner, less is more, darling). Nevertheless, in the end, The Hole is one hell of a fun time. (I know, I know. I couldn’t resist!)
(The Hole is no longer running.)