Review "Lonesome Losers": The Big 'L'

Lonesome Losers of the Night
Theo Ubique Theatre Company

Theatre on the Lake at Fullerton
Chicago
July 10, 2009

Sans the singing, a bartender pushing shots while two drunks fight over a whore sounds like any Saturday night at Jacqueline's. Lonesome Losers of the Night has 21 songs. I know because I counted them down in anticipation of the end.

Losers is more of a music revue than a musical. After every song, the rhythm of the experience is broken for the audience to applaud. This is my ongoing pet peeve with this type of theatre experience. I want to clap at the end in admiration of a talented cast and wonderful script. Maybe at intermission, even if I don't like the first act, as my way of cheerleading the cast into a better second half. Of course, I love to spontaneously burst out in applause at a powerfully magnificent aria flawlessly delivered. But after every song, come on that's like a dog wanting a treat every time it sits up. I sit up all the time, where's my treat?

The cast itself was great. Led by my newest crush Chris Damiano (Che in Evita), the singers were beautifully soulful. Their piano accompanist, Joshua Stephen Kartes, masterfully and entertainingly became a fifth character with his passionate performance. My issue was the material. Too many songs and no script! Sure I think the inane moments of my life would be prettier sung with a great piano accompanist. But in reality, who wants to hear it? And be coerced into applauding it?

Bottom line what does a French guy know about a wharf bar in Amsterdam anyway? Jacques, there's a reason why what happens at the wharf, stays at the wharf. My advice is to skip Lonesome Losers of the Night opt instead for Jacqueline's! If you really want singing, and who doesn't , bring cash for the jukebox.

Sharing the sultry and sweaty experience at Theatre on the Lake, my playmates had this to say: Birthday boy Scott thought lyrical, emotional and repetitive. Dick described it as long bartender songs.

WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Before the show, we ate at Sushi-X at 543 W. Diversey. We strategized that our early dinner plans fell perfectly into the happy hour: ½ price rolls zone. Unfortunately, we found out on arrival that you can only be "happy" Sunday through Wednesday. If not "happy", we were certainly content with the quick, friendly service and tasty rolls. The Godzilla lived up to its name and I had trouble eating it attractively. First ever, we ordered and enjoyed a crab ragoon roll. Turning crab ragoon into sushi certainly allows the diner to pretend it's healthier. Kudos on that idea, Sushi-X!

Having watched the cast down more than a dozen shots each during the show, I left the theatre all boozed out. We decided to bathe in ice cream to beat the heat. Windy City Sweets, 3308 N. Broadway, is the perfect spot for such indulgence. Dick estimated $10 million in ice cream and candy inventory. Scott and I think he may be delusional but agreed that they did have a Willie Wonka like selection.

I biked past Jacqueline's, 3420 N. Broadway, on the way home. I'm certain I saw Greg pushing shots to several drunks and counted more than a handful of whores. I almost stopped but hey it wasn't Saturday

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