Hotel loopy created and performed by Marjorie Campbell, Michael Healey, Scott McCord, Alon Nashman, Rick Roberts, Martha Ross and Kristen Thomson. Presented by Theatre Columbus at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman). Runs to May 25, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2:30 pm. $18-$22, Sunday pwyc. 416-531-1827. Rating: NN
Theatre Columbus infuses clown elements in contemporary creations and adaptations of the classics. In Hotel Loopy, the red noses come out of the closet, and the unfunny, chaotic result is a show that proves the company is at a dead end.Filled with self-referential gags (Marjorie Campbell sprays water toward the audience and says she's "cleaning the fourth wall"), the collectively written and performed show feels like the late-night improvisations of a group of partied-out, self-indulgent writer/actors. Amusing as a short bit at the Tarragon Spring Arts Fair, deadly at 115 minutes.
An especially weak beginning finds Michael Healey presiding over the desk in a less than grand hotel, with a Euro-accented Rick Roberts sliding out from under it to act as a sort of narrator. Soon, Roberts, Healey and hotel worker Campbell begin greeting guests Alon Nashman (as, for some bizarre reason, Tom Cruise), Kristen Thomson and Martha Ross, to the occasional ivory-tinklings and warblings of visiting lounge musician Scott McCord.
That's the show. Some of the clowns have obsessions. Ross plays the tuba, wants to write a novel and has had a thing with Healey. Healey contemplates the passing of time. Roberts (concentrating, and displaying comic flair) has an overly long gag with an oversized phone.
Only Thomson creates a clown with any depth. A shifty-eyed, bossy figure who's pregnant and always thinking about money, she evokes a funny-scary world that taps into our fears of the unknown. She's completely spontaneous and surprising, even if her vocal inflections seem like an in-joke reference to Theatre Smith-Gilmour's French-accented Michelle Smith.
Leah Cherniak directs the biggest display of wasted talent this season.