Review: FRIGID NY Festival 2022: "Are You Lovin' It?" (The Answer Is Yes)
Are You Lovin' It?
Written by Theatre Group GUMBO
Directed by Kayo Tamura
Presented at The Kraine Theater
85 E 4th St., Manhattan, NYC
February 16-March 6, 2022
|Kayo Tamura and Ryo Nishihara. Photo by Sue Brenner|
The show begins with a pair of figures (Nono Miyasaka and Ayataro Motomura) who resemble a certain fast-food clown mascot dancing and flipping to a song in praise of a WacDonalds, a company that resembles in its products and red and yellow branding a certain U.S.-based international fast-food corporation. We then meet a businessman (Ryo Nishihara, who also plays Jesus–don't ask; just see it for yourself) who is going to spend his very first time off from work ever, including through stretches of serious illness and the loss of his family, at WacDonaldland. This character also allows GUMBO to poke fun at American stereotypes of Japan, an approach used elsewhere in the show as it also invokes global stereotypes of Americans in its satire. Nishihara's holding an entire conversation solely in variations of the phrase "Yes, boss" is only one of the comedic highlights of this segment. Kayo Tamura, as a mother who encounters the businessman with her baby in tow, more than keeps the comic momentum going, and from there things only get more delightfully surreal, culminating in an ending that cleverly reframes the last stretches as themselves a critique of corporate feel-good woke-washing.
Nono Miyasaka and Ryo Nishihara. Photo by Sue Brenner
Are You Lovin' It? includes song, dance, physical comedy, and audience participation in its special recipe. If you've ever dreamed of seeing a man with a katana face off against a woman with a bo staff made from oversized french fries and a chicken nugget (and who among us hasn't), then this production is your dream come true. A more joyful indictment of global capitalism than the fearlessly madcap Are You Lovin' It? you're unlikely to find.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards
More FRIGID 2022 Reviews:
And Toto Too
And Toto Too