Created & Directed by Henry Evans & Tommy McCarthy
Choreographed by Tyler Holoboski
Adding a dash of 21st Century hipster sensibility to the traditions of vaudeville and commedia dell'arte, Atlas Circus Company’s high-energy romp follows the misadventures of hapless young Everyman as he faces overwhelming obstacles in his quest for success and love in the big city. Accompanied by composer David Evans at the piano, the troupe cavorts about the stage with stunning energy and a palpable joy, spinning everyday situations into farcical flights of giddy nonsensicality. Outside of an occasional lip-synched show tune or and some falsetto gibberish, there is no dialogue in LUCKY. The comedy’s all physical, and the ensemble are all highly skilled in the arts of acrobatics, mime, dance and improv.
The show is composed of nine lazzi, in which the eponymous hero says goodbye to his small-town family and heads off to New York. Armed only with an attaché case and a can-do attitude, he goes looking for work. But holding on to job (or even a sandwich) proves challenging when everything from gravity to social anxiety conspires to sabotage Lucky's efforts.
To elaborate further would be to give away the cavalcade of surprises LUCKY has in store for its fortunate audience. Suffice it to say that ordinary objects are transformed into percussion ensembles, rapid-fire juggling contests are followed by feats of hair-raising aerialist acts and lyrical dance routines blend with forthrightly lowbrow pie-in-the-face slapstick shtick (actually it looks more like ricotta cheesecake: this is New York after all).
Lead actor Henry Evans has clearly made a close study of the great silent comedians, and his comic persona is flavored with a soupçon of Chaplin and echoes of Keaton and Lloyd. Yet Lucky is also an original creation, enlivened by Evans’s startling athleticism and acrobatic prowess. Paradoxically, it takes tremendous coordination to be a great stage klutz, and Evans, like his predecessors, has mastered the art of the meticulously choreographed accident.
Aided by Koren Harpaz’s animated backdrops, the supporting cast rounds out the whimsical cartooniverse through which Lucky meanders. Sporting a mesomorphic physique and a devilish grin, Leo Abel nimbly morphs into a panoply of urban archetypes, including a mugger, a construction worker and a vein bachelor eager to impress his date. With pompous brio, Russell Norris flings his tall, slim body into multiple variations on the theme of Tyrannical Boss. Rubber-limbed Avery Deutsch is irresistibly charming as Lucky's coworker and would-be love interest.
Here are a few added bonuses: Though by no means dumbed down, LUCKY is appropriate for all ages. Tickets are affordable, and Dixon place has a cozy bar on the first floor where the cast and creatives can often be found mingling with audience members.
LUCKY continues through August 16, 2017 at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets, New York, New York.