REVIEW: George Lusk @ Studio BE

Many Layers of Truth.

George LuskGeorge Lusk is Caleb George and Matt Lusk. A two-man show that starts off by asking for an audience suggestion of a difficult conversation they had with their parents. From there they dive into their characters and usually spend a full 25 minutes in a singular scene “playing at the speed of life.”

This performance was fueled by the suggestion of AIDS and Angels in America got thrown in as well. George assumed the role of a gay teenage boy who we find out is having a difficult time explaining to his hard-working, middle-class, true-blue American, everything-about-him-is-built-Ford-tough, recently divorced father, played by Lusk. We find them seated at a baseball game and outside of standing up to shout at the field, this is where they remain for the full length of the show.

George and Lusk play slow and steady. As real life friends for the better part of a decade, they easily anticipate each other’s moves. They have the ease, certainty and style of TJ and Dave, but with a more boastful energy – not quite as calm. They take on strong points of view, similar to Trainwreck, then linger, feeling out the space, settling in and getting comfortable with each other. They are two unlikely characters and each play to their strengths. Lusk is heavy-footed and self-assured, firing off quick-witted, cleverly-crafted and perfectly timed one-liners. George, plays quite the opposite – playing a squirrelier character trying to prove himself through patient, emotionally-driven banter. In many cases, George sets up Lusk for his one-liner homeruns, teamwork at its finest. Now this may not always ring true, but it did in this show. With lines like “Of course you’re talented, you’re half of me” and “I started this day wanting to eat a sandwich and I just ate a fucking grenade,” (in response to hearing his son was gay), Lusk kept dropping hard-hitting lines one after another.

The show explored themes of hope, perseverance, identity and acceptance. The second half was filled with conversations deeply rooted in truth and how sometimes truth is funny, sometimes it hurts and sometimes it’s just sad. George and Lusk spent some time talking about relationships — why some fail while others persevere. When George asked Lusk why he divorced his mother, Lusk replied “Sometimes when you love someone, you do mean things because you’re afraid they’re going to leave.” One of the most notable lines of the evening, as it was confidently stated and absolutely true. These two weren’t afraid to explore some of the deeper issues in life and brush off the dust on topics many decide to shove in the closet.

Knowing these two and their general style of play, not every show has this slow and steady pace, as many times they play fast and hard, but they always play real. They know which buttons to push and levers to pull and without saying a word, they both know where the other is going. Watching these two is like watching two buddies play a game of catch. A game of catch you’ll never see again and a game of catch you’d never expect to be so enlightening.

George Lusk plays Thursdays at Studio BE at 10pm until the end of June. Donations accepted at the end of the show.

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posted on by Kiley Peters posted in Chatter, Reviews

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