nytheatre.com review by Will Fulton
August 14, 2011
Lipshtick is a three-woman variety show of comic monologues intercut with vaudevillian bits and found footage pastiche videos, framed by a somewhat horrifying reality makeover TV show. The components all explore various facets of female body image and sexuality in our heavily mediatized culture. Co-written by video designer Adam Burns and performer Romy Nordlinger, the piece strikes a very effective balance between goofy, character-driven humor and the underlying anxiety about its subject, without ever becoming too preachy or conversely undermining its serious exploration.
Along with Nordlinger the ensemble is rounded out by the equally strong performances of Aja Houston and Scout Durwood. They portray women of various stations and eras (a slang-slinging flapper, an aggressively cheery HR representative, a star-struck department store clerk) with the character-relishing panache of sketch and improv comediennes. Burns's videos are delightfully packed with a plethora of hilarious found video and audio, masterfully spliced together. They provide a fun complement to the manic energy of the performers and effectively cover the transitions between bits.
Snappily directed by Bricken Sparacino, the piece is enjoyable and compelling throughout, building to an unexpected and cathartic climax. Drawing on classic theatrical traditions and exploring well-trod territory, Lipshtick is nevertheless a fresh and charming piece, throwing its wry voice into a vibrant, but hardly resolved discourse.