I'll Be There for You: angel/buddy Tests the Boundaries of Friendship

angel/buddy is one of those frustrating plays that makes the viewer feel that either it is too deep for the average audience member to understand or that it is simply a weak piece of theater. While I feel that angel/buddy has its weak moments, ultimately it reaches the goal that it sets out to achieve, which is to establish that its two title characters are all that each other has in this world. At curtain up we see Buddy sitting in an armchair crying his eyes out. Angel enters soon after carrying a massive amount of cocaine. We learn that Buddy's girlfriend has just left him in a violent rage and he has called Angel over with the cocaine to help him work through it. Buddy and Angel proceed to consume ridiculous amounts of cocaine while they discuss where exactly Buddy went wrong in his relationship. Throughout the play Angel and Buddy talk, snort coke, hallucinate a race of man-hating aliens, visit with Angel's deceased parents, and contemplate suicide. Not bad for one evening.

Ken Ferrigni wrote the play and also stars as Buddy. While he eventually wins the audience over to his side, Ferrigni writes and plays Buddy as a whiny loser who would rather snort coke and complain than try to fix his problems. It's not until a scene later on in the play where Buddy offers a retarded homeless person $20 for a hug that the audience is fully on his side. Aaron Kliner plays the surprisingly co-dependent Angel as a funny but reserved outcast who lives vicariously through Buddy's success. Phil Wilcox turns in a splendid performance as OMG, but Deanna Gibson is the true stand out in the cast. Undertaking all of the female roles, she spikes each one with incredible individuality and fully commits to every word even when the writing gets a little off the wall.

Overall, angel/buddy sets up a series of unfortunate and outrageous events that the title characters overcome in order to find that at the end, all they need is each other. While the show is entertaining to watch and the dialogue is clever and well-written, the conclusion seems simple enough to reach without all the drama.

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