Encore Michigan

Grand Rapids native returns home with ‘VGL, 5’4″ Top’

Preview February 18, 2014 Encore Staff

GRAND RAPIDS – In its second year, the Lake Effect Fringe Festival continues to highlight local performers, playwrights and musicians as it expands to include artists from a wider arena.

For the final week of the month-long fest of local theater, Lucas Brooks brings his original, one-man show, “VGL, 5’4″ Top” home to Grand Rapids at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 and Wednesday, Feb. 26.

An actor and writer, Lucas moved to New York to pursue theater at The New School in 2005. His love of solo performance and fascination with queer culture and human sexuality led him to create “VGL, 5’4″ Top” for his senior thesis. Sick and tired of short jokes and snobbery amongst the gay population, Lucas, a sexually frustrated and vertically challenged young top, is ready to fight back. Armed with only a laptop and a quick wit, our gallant hero addresses the loaded topic of sex and how it divides us, rather than unites us, in a time of need.

VGL” was first presented at the LGBT Community Center in New York City in May 2009. Since then it has been performed at the legendary Stonewall Inn in New York in 2011, the San Francisco Fringe Festival in 2012, and FRIGID New York and the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2013.

According to Gian Verano of Mooney on Theatre, “This play succeeded where many others of the same genre faltered. The pacing was focused and the writing for this one man show was exceptionally strong. Its narrative was filled with heartbreaking candid confessions of Brooks’ own dating nightmares as well as personal musings on the hypocrisy of the mythical all-inclusive gay community. And while the self-segregation of the gay population is nothing groundbreaking in the media or popular culture, Brooks’ take on this phenomenon was refreshing and poignant thanks to his charming delivery and unabashed willingness to almost bare it all (both figuratively and literally) for his audience.

“It should be noted that, although the theme of this Toronto Fringe entry centered on social acceptance, the tone was neither preachy nor unbearably dry. Living up to its billeted description as a comedy, (the show’s) humor was at times raunchy and salacious, but always well-crafted and on point.”

Performances are at the Dog Story Theatre, 7 Jefferson SE, in Grand Rapids. Tickets are $12/adults and $8/students and seniors.

For more information and tickets to Fringe Fest events, visit the Dog Story Theater website, {URL www.dogstorytheater.com}.