Also at the Exit on Taylor is “VGL 5’4” Top.” From first glance, one would think this 45 minute show is all laughs and titillation. After all, the sexy young writer/star Lucas Brooks does perform the entire show in his underwear.
And yes, Brooks takes us through his dating life as a vertically challenged man that involves a lot of internet profiles and actions. “VGL” shows how easy it is we disregard someone who might be too tall, too old, too short, too hairy, too Latin, too religious or too poor. Sure, especially men, we rely on looks to attract a partner or date – but Brooks reminds us that there’s more to chemistry than just boxes we check on an online dating site.
He also tugs at the heart a bit when he reminds us that while these difference seem to divide us, we need to focus on more with what unites us like fighting for gay marriage.- Kevin Thomas, The Examiner
The 5’4” top made a big impression. I walked away thinking a lot about the boxes I check and the way I look at people. Very thought provoking.
In his monologue entitled VGL 5'4" TOP, Brooks describes his sexual evolution from a horny (if somewhat naive) Midwestern gay boy into a sophisticated kinkster trying to navigate the intricate contradictions of New York's gay community. Brooks finds himself continually challenged by rudeness masquerading as attitude, internalized homophobia attempting to pass itself off as superiority, and vapidity eclipsing vitality.
Nowhere is this more frustrating than the highly-addictive landscape of on-line gay male social networks such as Adam4Adam, Manhunt,Gay.com, and Craigslist. As someone who is not easily stereotyped (he's too smart to be a twink, too smooth to be a bear, too short to impress people as a top, and too protective of his asshole to be a power bottom), Lucas is hardly the first gay man to suffer from on-line overobjectification. Confronted by an on-line questionnaire which asks "If you could dress up your asshole, what would it wear?" he offers a simple response: duct tape.
Clad only in a pair of briefs, Brooks manages to keep the audience's attention above his crotch with his strong storytelling skills, laser-sharp wit, and appealing personality.- George Heymont, My Cultural Landscape
I wish there were more performances. Such a great show. I laughed, I cried, I felt, I enjoyed. Thank you Lucas for sharing such an amazing story.- Joshua Hardwick, Fringe Technician
- King ETC
What I appreciated was the bravery of the show. It called out a lot of issues in the gay community than you first think it will, and ends up being an awesome rallying cry for unity. Funny, witty, thought provoking, a really fun show that had me thinking about what it was talking about even after I left the theater.
Loved it!! Absolutely hilarious!!It was very much amusing to me to see the issues and situations that frustrate many of us in our private lives (anything from having to deal with the linguistic limits of our would-be romantic encounters to genuine feelings of inadequacy after such an encounter) portrayed so openly and truthfully onstage… with everyone laughing along. For those of us in the room without an outlet to talk to about these kinds of mishaps in our lives, being in a room full of people who understand is, well, very therapeutic.
Despite how funny it was, the performance was also surprisingly empowering. I was expecting merely to laugh. Maybe a lot. But left the theater also feeling a bit more confident in myself. My self-image. My choices. My community.
And lastly… I mean, c’mon; Having a charming, witty, VGL guy talk to you (not at you or for you) for nearly an hour clad in nothing but his underwear… how can that be a bad thing?- Louel Senores
And of course, there were some haters...
Alas, there is nothing new in this. And though the point is worth making, it is worth making better than is done in this one-note lament. Brooks is clearly intelligent and creative, but the show comes across as a draft for a short comic stint, or perhaps the outline for a series of character portraits that show the real depth of the pain caused by cutting so many out of our hearts.
Instead, we are left with a slightly unsatisfying discourse nearly as shallow as the shallowness it concerns and barely audible at times past the first row. Let’s hope Brooks continues work on this project and polishes it into something more finished and worthy of a second date.- Roger Brigham, Edge San Francisco
Lucas dissects his corner of the gay community and his role in it, as dictated by the flaws and attributes of his own body, with the calculating, meticulous rigor of a scientist and the wit of a rapacious satirist. "If your asshole got dressed," a dating site questionnaire asks him, "what would it wear?" "Duct tape," he responds. Trouble is, Brooks wants to have it both ways, indulging his own snark but condemning it in others. He catalogues "homosexual habits" he hates, but he doesn't make himself likable enough for us to hate with him.- Lily Janiak, SF Weekly
Sure, I was disappointed with the negative reviews, especially because The Edge was the first review I've received and I was really looking forward to it, and because Lily was the name of the dog that I grew up with whom I adored more than anything, but the positive feedback greatly outweighs the negative. I may not have packed the houses, but I clearly moved and inspired those who attended, and the audience is more important than the critics. My work here is done. I can only hope that I may have more opportunity to affect this city in the same way, and to inspire others like this in other cities.
Thank you, San Francisco...for everything.