THEATER REVIEW: The Piped Pipers of the Lower East Side

The full cast of The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side. Photo credit: Larry Cobra

If ever there was a play playing in the most perfect place for a play to play, it is The Piped Pipers of the Lower East Side, featuring The Amoralists at Performance Space 122. This is a show about four people (though the cast includes two others) and their life and ideas on the Lower East Side.

At times I feel writer/director Derek Ahonen is a bit carried away with those ideas, but basically this is a kinetic two and a half hours plus (with two intermissions) of wild physical forays, often times screaming dialogue and more than a little bit of flesh (both female and male). The play has a pretty simple plot-though not one I will spoil for you here-and I feel it’s more a vehicle for the wild performances and equally wild action, but it is fun. There are standout performances from all, but most notably for me Matt Pilieci and his dancing penis (not to say he wasn’t a force on stage but his penis was ‘hard’ to miss) and the smarmy Charles Meola as Donovan. A mention should also be made of Al Schatz’s set design, as I believe the set is as much a character here as the six people on stage.

Did I like this play? Yes. Is it groundbreaking theater, ‘amoral’ in the best sense of the word, probably not. Is it worth seeing? If you’re tired of Broadway fare or even safe Off-Broadway stuff like Blue Man Group, then yes, I think you should see The Amoralists’ production of Derek Ahonen’s The Piper Pipers of the Lower East Side.

The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side is showing at P.S.122 (150 1st Avenue at E. 9th Street) through August 17th. For info on the schedule of performances, go to their website.

Ralph Greco, Jr.

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