September 25, 2016

Theatre Review: Oh, Hello

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I first fell in love with George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon on Nick Kroll's Comedy Central sketch show "Kroll Show" where they hilariously pranked local New Yorkers and big time celebs with Too Much Tuna! They are best friends who have been living together on the Upper West Side for 40 years. They love the theatre and now they're on the biggest stage - Broadway. Oh, Hello is their love letter to not only to the city but also live theater.



I had the pleasure of attending opening night this Friday. Looking across the crowd, pretentious hipsters sat among frat bros sprinkled in were some older folks who perhaps wandered off the street not sure where they were. George and Gil hit the stage to a thunderous applause. They introduced themselves to the audience, even though most of us were there for them, and gave some back story. Then the curtain rises much to the audience's delight and hearing our joy George acknowledges the oddity that an audience would be surprised there's a stage at a Broadway show. They then explain the miscellaneous set pieces - the beauty parlor from the Beaches remake, the Cosby stoop which they were given for FREE! They spend a few moments pointing out the tropes of shows such as the one-way phone call. After pointing these out they ask the audience if they're able to perform their masterpiece George has worked so many years to write. We applaud and they explain that it is based on their friendship.

They take us from their childhood through the several decades in their friendship with back 'n forth monologues in only a few moments. Eventually getting to the moment where they meet in the quad at college and have lived together ever since. George is a working screenwriter and Gil is a struggling actor who almost hit it big as the voice of CBS. George had three wives mysteriously die in a similar way (nothing like his friend Robert Durst!) and Gil struggles with his love of raccoons. It all comes to ahead when fame enters their life. Fame almost ends their friendship! Too Much Tuna moves off public access television to NY1 (inside joke for New Yorkers) where they're able to get big guests like Will Forte! Gil almost sells out and George has to remind him of the authentic art of theater and their friendship in the tough love way a Marine father would.

As I tweeted, "it was everything I wanted and some things I didn't know I did." I had not enjoyed myself like that in quite awhile. There were so many inside New York jokes as well as cranky old man habits that I adore (especially George). It was opening night and they came out strong. However, the show hinges on their dynamic so I'd be curious to go back towards the end of their 15 week run to see how the flow has shifted. I could go every week quite frankly because I love George and Gil so much. I hope this is not the last we'll see of them. <End Scene>

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