Lobby Hero Review by Jen Bush
The safety and security of an upscale Manhattan apartment building is entrusted to a man named Jeff on the night shift. Jeff is the epitome of a lost cause. He was kickout out of the Navy. He owes money to loan sharks. His love life is non-existent. Jeff’s boss William comes to check on him. He laces into him for not taking his job or life seriously. He then attempts to advise and mentor him. They end up bonding a bit and William displays some vulnerability concerning his brother who got arrested for murder. Later, two police officers, Dawn and Bill visit the building. Dawn is a rookie with 3 months on the force. Bill is her arrogant partner who is cheating on his wife with a tenant in the building while he’s on the clock. As the plot unfolds, storylines intertwine with negative consequences for most of the characters. In the end, Jeff comes out smelling like roses in comparison to the other three characters.
Lobby Hero presents us with 4 flawed human beings. There is no protagonist in this play. There are 4 characters trying to navigate tough moral and ethical challenges. Mark Ashin carries the show well as the main character Jeff. He can easily flip the switch between comedy and drama and be believable with both. Ian Duhart did a fine job as Jeff’s conflicted boss, William. There was a depth to his portrayal. The Law and Order franchise would be lucky to snap up Chris Leoni who portrays Bill the sleazy cop. He had the tough guy persona down pat. Natalie Ahn was amazing as Dawn the rookie cop. Her role called for a lot of emotion, and she brought it. In Act II she knocked it out of the park.
There are themes of criminal activity, sexual harassment, infidelity, and racial issues. The dialogue is raw and scathing with profanity more than peppered in. Though the subject matter is not light, there are plenty of comedic moments in the play, mostly attributed to Jeff. Not every show is Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes it’s just the beast reflective of the not so nice realities of life. If you want to feel better about yourself, this is the show to see.