By Marcina Zaccaria
Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland are a charming duo in Oh Hello, Live! On (Off) Broadway.
A Nick Kroll and John Mulaney Production, Oh Hello Live! On (Off) Broadway celebrates comedic timing and long term friendship. Gil and George are both Upper West Side actors. Set to open their new show, We’re Us, You’re You, Let’s Talk, this duo enchants the audience with their stories of the past.
Gil and George look back at the success of their show, Too Much Tuna, and their relationship that started at Columbia in the 1960s. Not unlike Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, they remember the friends, the foes, and the shows that changed their lives. Always writing to keep their apartment afloat, these comedic actors break into vignettes about their most memorable productions. Decade by decade, the audience hears about their New York history.
Set against a backdrop of a New York Skyline, the show looks great and keeps a brisk pace. There is something quite special about remembering these years with Gil and George, and the audience laughs through each beat of the bio drama. The characters recount the day-to-day joys and despairs of theater-making. It sometimes feels like backstage at The Neighborhood Playhouse. Gil often walks right past the skyscrapers created by Scenic Designer Connor W. Munion (1776, A Little Night Music, The Wild Party). It’s a theatrical style that would also look great on television. The audience can feel a sense of scale, with Gil having a larger than life presence within the City. George, on the other hand, looks suave and maintains his fancy footwork. Lighting Designer Jake Degroot keeps the colors bright, and the pacing swift.
While Gil and George don’t break out in song (and only have one faux ballet routine), their witty banter never keeps the audience in the dark. They cross a generational divide. Their grey wigs reveal the difficulty in years past. Their mismatched, business attire shows a tattered world into which they never truly retreat. Extraordinary highlights of the show include Gil and George sitting down with a friend at a café table for a large tuna sandwich. As they open up and share their Insights about the industry, and it’s clear that George, Gil, and their actor friends have suffered blunders, but in the end, have all the right stuff.
At the end of the show, Gil and George break the fourth wall. From a podium filled with microphones from NY1 and Village Voice, they take questions from the audience about who they’ve been through the years. Improvisation has never been so sharp. It is a fitting finale to a heart-warming journey that really captures every moment. The entire evening is a pleasant reminder that New York is a great place, particularly around the holiday season.
Oh, Hello Live! On (Off) Broadway at The Cherry Lane Theatre, located at 38 Commerce Street.