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Channeling Kevin Spacey

Justin R.G. Holcomb and Jamil Chokachi give fine comic performances in this entertaining one-act about a man obsessed with the film American Beauty. logo
Jamil Chokachi and Justin R. G. Holcomb
in Channeling Kevin Spacey
(Courtesy of the company)
Elan Wolf Farbiarz and Cory Terry's entertaining one-act, Channeling Kevin Spacey, now at St. Luke's Theatre, follows a long line of Off-Broadway shows such as Matt & Ben, which favor a creative madcap imagining where the personal hopes and ambitions they project onto a celebrated actor quickly overshadow reality.

This time around, that person is Charlie (Justin R.G. Holcomb), who identifies with Spacey's American Beauty character, Lester Burnham, and even hears the film's theme song in his head when he wakes up each morning.

A down-on-his-luck nine-to-fiver, Charlie splits his time between work (where brownnosers and backstabbers pretty much ensure he's never going to get recognized), home (where his girlfriend berates him for being overweight), and a bagel store where he goes every morning -- less for the bagels than to catch a glimpse of the woman he's had an unrequited crush on for years

After a particularly brutal day at work, he comes to the realization that he needs to be less Spacey and more Pacino. Hoo-ah! This path, of course, has its own problems, as he soon learns. While it empowers him, it also unleashes a reckless streak that wrecks havoc on his life. There's definitely a fine line between comedy and tragedy, and Holcomb's stellar impressions usually keep us laughing through his misfortunes.

Jamil Chokachi adds an extra comic punch playing all the other characters. He moves from Charlie's snippy girlfriend to the women he pines after at the bagel store with a natural ease, and he evokes the manic humor of former Saturday Night Live star Chris Kattan as he plays Charlie's overeager colleague, Sanjay.

Even though the show often relies on archetypes and stereotypes, we can't help but root for Charlie as he tries to emulate his singular role model.

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