To Hell with Gravity

Written by Mark Peikert on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


The charming if slight Leo grows gradually less charming as its slightness grows more pronounced
over the course of its 60-minute running time. A stylish and snappy silent one-man
show conceived by and starring Tobias Wegner,
Leo boasts a one-joke premise that finds Wegner sliding
around on the stage in various postures that translate into gravity-defying
feats of acrobatics thanks to a hidden camera that projects Wegner’s
contortions at an upright angle on the other half of the stage.

We see Wegner, in vest, tie and hat, sitting on top of a
suitcase on screen, while a quick glance at the actual man shows that he is
lying flat on his back on the floor, legs bent at the knees. Wegner has a
precise physicality that makes his various poses pop, but there is a built-in
limitation to the show.

Wegner and director Daniel Briére overcome that limitation
briefly during a prolonged sequence in which Wegner illustrates a cat and a
sitting room for himself in chalk on a wall—all of which come to life onscreen
thanks to Ingo Panke’s animation. The ease with which Wegner portrays an
everyman who can suddenly defy gravity reduces the impact of his impressive performance,
but there just aren’t enough opportunities for a story to develop beyond the
obvious choices (dancing, swimming, etc.). Watching a camera trick you into seeing a man floating in
mid-air can only hold your attention for so long, and at 60 minutes, that’s too
long.

Leo
Through Feb. 5, Theatre Row, 410 W.
42nd St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), www.telecharge.com;  $48.25.

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