Leo Reich Arrives in New York
Hot Comic in "Literally Who Cares"
By: Susan Hall - Feb 20, 2023
Leo Reich has arrived at the Greenwich House Theater in New York fresh from triumphs on the London stage and Edinburgh Fringe.
Literally Who Cares? is a show about Reich. He is a Gen Zer, a graduate of Footlights at Cambridge where everyone who’s anyone begins their career.
Yet his background of privilege, which may have given him a confident base, is not what you hear and watch on stage. He asks: Am I hot? Yes, he is.
Grateful that he does not speak German after an Axis victory in World War II, his gags swoop around, one after another. You barely recover from one punch in time to receive the next one.
Reich grew up online. He watched his first porn at nine. The buzzwords of social media are his vocabulary. “I will never not exist, because I am life’s protagonist.” He reminds an older generation that in addition to dealing with teenage angst and dramas, he has had to deal with the “emotional labor of knowing things about stuff” like climate change and gender identity. Older people get him, but he is surely pointing the finger at us. The world we have created is burning. You might as well be funny.
Yet Reich is not crushed by the big, bad thoughts. He fights back by becoming his generation. Already reading the future memoir he will write, and dipping into a future screenplay based on this memoir, he is a captivating, gross and yet moving figure.
Why are we enthralled? Because his language and his physical presentation are so spot on. Comic timing and gag after gag grip us. His movements are naturally choreographed.
The show gives a sense of existential doom. The work is interspersed with song. One admonishes us to “stop caring” to ease our minds. We’re going to save the world, he asks. Well, No, is the answer.
In the TV show Love Island, Reich finds a metaphor for our times. If you remain single after coupling, you are dumped from the island.
We ask in the end if the carefully-curated images we project in social media are simply hollow men, and women. As this sober question arises, we are in the midst of a funny and disturbing evening of song and dance.
Playing thru March 11. Tickets here.