Review: FRIGID NY Festival 2022: No More Stalling for a Podcaster in "Bathroom of a Bar on Bleecker"
Bathroom of a Bar on Bleecker
Written and directed by Mike Lemme
Presented at UNDER St. Marks
94 St, Marks Place, Manhattan, NYC
February 19-March 6, 2022
|Emil Ferzola. Photo by Mike Ford|
When we meet Brooklyn native Jack, the host of an enormously successful "comedy" podcast of the variety for which, he acknowledges, Joe Rogan paved the way, NYC is in dire trouble–although, Jack tells us, still cranking out pizzas–and Jack's podcast is forcibly coming to its end. To say more about the plot would be a disservice to the turns that Lemme's play takes and the way that it keeps its audience pleasurably off balance. Jack, a gruff man with blue-collar roots, calls his rise to fame both a gift and a curse, and Bathroom also considers the consequences, unintended or otherwise, and here even dystopian, of the words of someone with a large, loyal following (it is hard not to think of recent events across our northern border inflamed by the export of right-wing American media). It also dissects the layers of artifice inherent even or perhaps especially in internet-based media, which thrives on the pretense of "keeping it real" authenticity–and not just that Jack very effectively shills for boner pills (a humorous detail that he also complicates).
Ferzola as Jack is very funny, but he is equally at home conveying Jack's anger and regret. For Jack, the bathroom began as a place to find some peace, but when it became a place to generate profit, that aspect was flushed away. But with Bathroom of a Bar on Bleecker, Jack's loss is the audience's gain.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards
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