Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: (Toronto) Lost Lounge

(photo credit: Lori E. Seid)

What Is Being Lost?
A reviewer copes with nostalgia
by Beat Rice

I’ve pretty much stopped noticing that I am usually always one of the youngest patrons when I go to the theatre. It’s a non-issue. But I am reminded of it every time I see a show that I just don’t get, because of my age. Lost Lounge is one of those shows. 
Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, a performance duo from NYC under the name Split Britches, with musician Vivian Stoll, together pay tribute to those once thriving lounges that peppered NYC. They comment on how construction enveloped those beloved places where people came together and lounge acts flourished. 
It did make references to several New York locations that once were, all of them went over my head.

The show, which I will not call a play, because it did not feel like one, has a nostalgic attitude. There are several comments on how once great old places that stood for many years were torn down to make room for large chain stores and tall glass buildings. Gentrification is a term I came to better understand. But, as a young person who has not lived long enough in any one place, I found it hard to fully understand. However, there were many in the audience that completely empathized with Peggy and Lois’ feelings. Perhaps if the show went into the deeper issues behind the reasons of gentrification and why they thought it was so awful, I would have left with more comprehension. The show only touched on the subject. It is such an interesting topic, and a global one as well, it was unfortunate that the piece did not delve into it more. It did make references to several New York locations that once were, all of them went over my head. It was an entertaining work however, with the three performers having strong personalities and lots of attitude singing fun songs and interacting with the audience. It is satirical, but the satire did not become clear until about 30 minutes in.
As the audience was leaving I made a comment to the person I was with, a friend my age, and joked that we are too young to feel nostalgic. The elderly patron in front of us heard me, and a discussion followed. She told us that nostalgia is a choice. She claimed that even though she was at the age when she is expected to be nostalgic, she is not, because she gets over the changes that are happening in the world and believes in looking forward. I couldn’t agree with her more. Depending on your attitudes about loss, this cabaret style show will mean something different for you. 
Interested in more? Here’s an article that was on the home page of the Toronto Star today, about condo development in the East End of Toronto.

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