Laugh It Up, Stare It Down NYC Reviews and Tickets
Slow, Confusing, Quirky, Disappointing, Fluffy
About the Show
Cherry Lane Theatre presents this new comedy about a couple that builds their entire relationship on the idea that opposites attract...until one day they are tested by a single decision.
This is the story of Cleo and Joe — the meeting of their minds, the entwining of their hearts, and their life-long search for a meaningful point in a universe too random to have one. It’s a journey marked by a missing baby, a forged painting, a house invader, a tidal wave, and frozen pistou. Will they rise above their outrageous fortune and find ecstatic love?
"If an existentialist philosopher ever attempted a light romantic comedy, it might sound a little like 'Laugh It Up, Stare It Down,' Alan Hruska’s quaintly absurdist play. An amiable, if surface-skimming approach to love, marriage, and all that sort of thing...There’s a lot of whimsy here and it would grow more wearing if not for the extravagant pace of Chris Eigeman’s direction and the brisk brightness of the performances."
"Though they build complex characters in their four roles apiece, the play's three-act structure feels overambitious for a 95-minute piece (interrupted by an unnecessary 15-minute intermission) that encompasses 20 years of a quirky marriage...'Laugh It Up, Stare It Down' rests squarely in the modern absurdist tradition, but one wishes, while watching Joe and Cleo floating on their buoy, that the play's humor didn't seem equally adrift."
'Laugh It Up, Stare it Down' combines a banal portrait of a marriage with an even more banal discussion of the meaning of life, featuring plotting that is alternately clichéd and wildly maladroit...Overall, this is a pale and wandering effort, marked by some surprisingly amateurish touches."
"The ensemble of four work hard and although director Chris Eigeman tries to move this comedy along at rapid pace (it’s listed as 95 minutes, with one intermission – but seems longer), there’s too much squeezed into the writing that should have concentrated more heavily on less ultimately giving us more."
"Hruska is interested in capturing the moments that make life worthy. Those looking for answers to life’s troubles will undoubtedly find the play unfulfilling, but those aware of theatre’s ability to act as a mirror will not only be entertained, but will also be left empowered, knowing that once they leave the show, they have the choice to decide whether they will let the handsome stranger waiting somewhere out there, to sweep them off their feet, or not."
"Playwright Alan Hruska has concocted an engaging and zany fable-like play...Under Chris Eigeman’s careful and intelligent direction, Mr. Bartok and Ms. Campbell navigate the terrain of fable and absurdity without becoming cartoons...'Laugh It Up, Stare It Down' is engaging, entertaining, and existentially satisfying."
"Playwright Alan Hruska has concocted an engaging and zany fable-like play...Perhaps 'Laugh It Up, Stare It Down' does not fully answer the question of the attainability of ecstatic love but I am not sure that was the point of Mr. Hruska’s script...'Laugh It Up, Stare It Down' is engaging, entertaining, and existentially satisfying and well worth the visit to the iconic Cherry Lane Theatre."
"The scenes come off as a jumble of incomplete sketches – neither funny nor fresh nor especially thought provoking; just odd...Watching 'Laugh It Up, Stare It Down' winds up offering a lesson in the Theater of the Absurd, but not one the creative team intended; it’s a realization of what the absurdist classics do right that this new play does wrong."