511 West 54th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Tuesday - Saturday through September 24, $30, 8:00
Layovers during airplane travel are usually tiring and boring if not downright frantic, but the lovely people of Lapsburgh are doing something about that. In the delightfully silly lo-fi The Lapsburgh Layover, running at Ars Nova through September 24, the Philadelphia-based Berserker Residents (The Giant Squid) have turned the West 54th St. arts space into the Shogoth Elder reception hall, where a quartet of semitalented Lapsburghians are presenting an evening of regional dinner theater while the audience’s plane is being refueled. After filling out a Customs form that includes such yes-or-no phrases as “I am under the influence of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, firearms, weapons, ammunition, explosives, pornographic material” and “Chicken or shrimp,” people are ushered into the exceedingly small and narrow hall, where they have the choice of sitting around the sides, in the back, or up front at the VIP table, where they very well might be asked to participate in the show. Going in and out of character on Lisi Stoessel’s playful set, Olaf / Mickey McElroy (Dave Johnson), Jeb / Carmen / Mark Able the Remarkable (Bradley K. Wrenn), Olaf / Fizzy / Big Fancy Mayor / Lilly (Justin Jain), and Zelda (Leah Walton) put on “Detective Mickey and the Case of the What Happened at the Club Regard,” a slapstick comic noir that cleverly twists standard genre clichés while tempting the audience to consider time-shares in the beautiful nation of Lapsburgh, which is still recovering from a legendary battle with killer frogs. “My city has a new diet,” says sexy chanteuse Zelda, Lapsburgh’s leading lady. “She will only eat hard-boiled justice and truth shakes. But who will feed them to her?” Cheap props, wild costumes (courtesy of Sydney Maresca), a not-quite-PowerPoint projection, and natural and unnatural disasters ensue as Mick tries to track down a murderer leaving victim after victim in his/her wake. Developed and directed by Oliver Butler, The Lapsburgh Layover is witty and fun, if a bit repetitive and a tad long, a jolly good way to spend your time in between flights. While you don’t actually get dinner with your theater (and VIPs would probably do best to avoid the salad they are served), you can purchase popcorn, the bourbon-based traditional Lapsburghian cocktail the Fancy Bicycle, and other snacks from the bar before the show takes off. At the very beginning, Zelda promises, “We shall make this time of waiting for your plane the most fancy for you.” And in their own quirky way, the Berserkers deliver.