America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5!
nytheatre.com review by Roger Nasser
August 16, 2009
Most people either love or hate reality TV shows. For many they are a guilty pleasure. I happen to really like them, especially the scripted ones. America's Next Top Model is one of these shows—a modeling competition created by Tyra Banks, where each week after different modeling challenges a contestant is cut and loses her chance to be America's Next Top Model. The show follows a specific formula. America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5! is a parody of ANTM, but in this case the contestants want to be Top Bottom. It's a really funny premise.
America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5! is a fun show. It contains some audience participation—but nothing that makes you feel put on the spot—and you get to vote for the winner. The hostess, Trina Sugg, introduces the six contestants (although there were seven listed in the program). After a few challenges, some are cut—just like on Top Model.
The audience seemed to really enjoy the show. There are some very funny moments, but I felt that while it is a funny gimmick that's all there seemed to be: a gimmick. I wanted and expected it to adhere more to the formula that Top Model follows—not just the competition but also the contestants interacting in their house. I missed the cattiness that Top Model contestants have; I didn't understand why the contestants were so supportive of each other. That being said, it is a comedic show and it does produce many laughs.
The cast works well together. There were a few shaky moments but on the whole everyone did a really good job. Drew Droege is absolutely hysterical as Trina Sugg. Droege has great comic timing and can really work a room. David Pavao made me laugh every time he spoke as Corky Adaire. Michael Mullen has so much spunk as Tomaz Cruz and does a really great Mexican Sally Field impersonation (from Steel Magnolias). Vance Pine as Harajuku Sulu is sheer comic genius!
America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5! was created, produced and directed by Efrain Schunior. Schunior does a fine job leading his talented group of actors. I had hoped for something a bit more developed. The play had more of a feel of a performance in the back room of a gay bar—which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The show and outcome is different every night so it is good for repeat viewing.