nytheatre.com review by David Hilder
August 13, 2011
The Custodian finds Max down on his luck in more ways than one: His roommate is a lay-about slob who wants only to play video games all day and night in their tiny apartment; his girlfriend is apparently cheating on him; and he has lost his job. And to top it all off, merely walking through the streets can be life-threatening, since superheroes are constantly battling their nemeses in the most destructive ways. When Max finds a janitorial job, and his rage against superheroes increases, he discovers what his destiny must be.
When The Custodian focuses on Max, it’s at its best—reasonably clever, pretty funny, light-hearted. Eryck Tait has a natural appeal in the role, an easygoing charm that helps tell the story and delineates his journey clearly. Alas, the play also features other characters, none of whom seems to have more than two dimensions. As roommate Remy, Nick Hepsoe makes the best impact, though he seems more often to be playing at playing a character rather than being one. Adam Delia as the mysterious Fing is called upon mostly to glower and growl, which he does; Steve Yates has a solid scene as a foul-mouthed sidekick called The Sparrow; and Kevin Alan plays several small roles (including an inexplicable “professor” who shows up on occasion to offer definitions of words and concepts in the dialogue) broadly, as the material suggests he should. Laurel Castillo, as Max’s girlfriend Wanda, is all big, empty gestures, begging the question why Max is so devoted to her.
Will Lacker’s script is overwritten, but there is a decent idea at its core. His staging is less impressive; his work with the cast—virtually the whole company seems to have connected at Marymount Manhattan College—emphasizes looseness and fun, which is sometimes to the good, though a tighter pace might make the play’s more attenuated sections less noticeable. Designers Laurel Castillo and Sara Lukasiewicz (costumes) and Matt Wharton (sound and lighting) do what they can on a shoestring, and mostly manage creditably. On the whole, The Custodian offers a decent, if uninspired, two hours in the theater.