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Off-Off-Broadway Review

America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5!

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America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5!
Photo Source: Efrain Schunior
Created and directed by Efrain Schunior, "America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5!" is campy nincompoopery—a skewering of reality TV screaming "Girlfriend!"

The contestants are cheeky: Corky Adaire (David Pavao), a professional seat-filler with a lisp; Dimples (Christopher Grant Pearson), chic and stylish; Glitter (Matthew Hannon), who's obsessed with Mariah Carey; Harajuku Sulu (Vance Pine), whose Japanese-accented English is unintelligible; Stuisha Brown (Stuart Bennett), fierce from the 'hood; and Tomaz Cruz (Michael Mullen), who's obsessed with "Steel Magnolias." Host Trina Sugg (Drew Droege) is a tipsy Southern belle. Co-host Teddy Teddy (Pete Zias, a real live 1990s club kid) impersonates a meth high beautifully. Winners are chosen through demonstrations of talent, poetry, and sassiness, then the audience votes.

But the piece rarely pushes boundaries—we never see why any of these boys should be the top bottom! "Stretch" puns aside, the humor could be more aggressive, not passive. And unlike many Fringe shows, this one could be longer. Thicker, too.

Presented by Celebration Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festivalat the Actors' Playhouse, 100 Seventh Ave. South, NYC.
Aug. 1622. Remaining performances: Mon., Aug. 17, 5:45 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 19, 2 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 21, 10:45 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 22, 2:15 p.m.(866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.

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