When Bob finally walks out on Walt, he places an ad on Craigslist to advertise the spare room. Walt has always suffered from low self esteem and considers suicide until the ad is answered by none other than ethereal actor and international icon Tilda Swinton.
Swathed in a coat of white bubble wrap, Swinton swoops in and makes the beleaguered Walt a character study for her next movie.
In the process, she pushes him to address his fragile esteem issues and face up to his domineering parents, Bobby’s narcissism and the world in general.
Byron Lane’s absurdist comedy is an uplifting affair that first saw light of day in Los Angeles in 2017. Since then, the show has achieved critical acclaim both Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Fringe. Lane’s masterful lampooning of Swinton is heightened by a gloriously camp performance from Tom Lenk (best known to many as Andrew from Buffy), who glides about the stage spouting a fusion of esoteric psychobabble and Hollywood egoism. Imagine Mary Poppins fused with Edina Monsoon
Yet Lenk’s larger-than-life interpretation doesn’t imbalance the gentle symmetry of this sharp but affectionate satire on the nature of fame and celebrity with healing at its centre.
There’s sterling support from Jayne Entwistle as Walt’s opinionated mother and Mark Jude Sullivan as both Bob and Walt’s domineering father. Through all of this drama, Lane as Walt embodies the spirit of every disenfranchised gay man. His journey might be barbed with insults and insecurity but under Swinton’s tutelage he finally learns to give as good as he gets.