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 
Some people say that their best ideas come to them on the toilet. For Jack (Emil Ferzola), a podcaster at the center of an international incident in Mike Lemme's twisty near-future satire Bathroom of a Bar on Bleecker, his best idea was to record his show from the toilet. Or at least it seemed that way. Bathroom of a Bar on Bleecker is currently playing as part of FRIGID New York's 16th annual festival, in which one hundred percent of the proceeds go to the artists. For a full schedule of shows, all of which can be experienced in person or via livestream, visit FRIGID New York's website.

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

Read more FRIGID 2022 Reviews:
And Toto Too


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