Oliver Parker! – Theater Review
Oliver is 17 and Jasper is 60. They are best friends. Oliver wants to get laid, and Jasper wants to help. Jasper wants to drink himself to death and Oliver wants to save him. And they share a secret that could run them both… if it hasn’t already.
Oliver Parker! is at the Cherry Lane Theatre. First off, I must admit to having a soft spot in my heart for the Cherry Lane Theatre, especially since they redid the chairs so you can actually sit still in them. This is a one-act 90 minute play by Elizabeth Mariwether who has already gone to California to become a TV writer. So you can tell that if Hollywood loves her then she must be good at sort of thinking in terms of small concepts and getting the idea across quickly. This is a play that is a little hard to describe. It stars the great John Larroquette, whom we haven’t seen since Night Court very often, and he is just plain wonderful. In Night Court he got to play sleazy comedy. In this one he gets to play everything. He plays a 60-year-old alcoholic living in squalor, and he is visited by a young man whose name is Oliver Parker who is Michael Zegen. Oliver Parker, we find out, is very well connected and very wealthy. He is apparently Denis Leary’s son on Rescue Me. I don’t know things like this because I don’t watch television. Then we have Johanna Daye, who is wonderful and Monica, who doesn’t have much to do but she looks beautiful. The story is that this young man has an indeterminate relationship with this older man, except that we know he is paying the bills. It turns out that the younger man then has some sort of an odd hook up with a woman who is a senator whose daughter has been murdered, and he seems to be her drug dealer. She says she’s going to send someone to pick up the drugs, which turns out to be a beautiful assistant at which point everybody gets confused about what is going on. So this is a play about boundaries and pain and loss and confusion. I don’t want to tell you the denouement because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But suffice it to say, it will give you something serious to think about in a very different way. I think the tickets here are $35. This is probably the best $35 deal you can find any place. It’s good acting. It’s live theatre. It’s some figures that you’ve seen before and it’s a thoughtful play. So get yourself down to the Cherry Lane and see Oliver Parker! Four stars.