[2013110] Desperately Seeking the Exit

[2013110] Desperately Seeking the Exit

Peter Michael Marino @ Austral Hotel – Red Room

6:00pm, Fri 8 Mar 2013

The précis for Desperately Seeking the Exit certainly build up a significant amount of intrigue, outlining the failure of a West End musical… and in a stinking hot room, in front of bugger all people (my memory seems to think there was an audience of three), Peter Michael Marino fills in the gaps, effectively laying bare his biggest passion… and his biggest failure.

Marino’s passion was the 1985 Madonna acting vehicle Desperately Seeking Susan. Green inspiration leads him to believe that a musical theatre adaptation of the movie would be a brilliant idea; friends in New York agreed with him, and so he set to work creating a script. Excitement is amplified by the acceptance of the musical for a West End debut, Marino moves to London to oversee the casting and rehearsals, and…

…then it all goes pear-shaped. Painfully pear-shaped. Pineapple-shaped, if you will.

Marino’s recollections of the West End process would be devastating, were they not so comical; production meetings and endless re-write requests create both laughs and genuine pity, as he attempts to overcome the variances in trans-Atlantic mannerisms and work ethics. The tangles Marino got into with the director – and Debbie Harry – almost defy belief.

Surprisingly, Desperately Seeking the Exit turned out to be a real emotional rollercoaster of a ride; Peter Michael Marino certainly puts his all into the performance, with a very dynamic and engaging delivery. And whilst there are some moments of sheer brilliance in the script, there’s sometimes too many sideways steps: a rollicking tale may be interrupted by Marino’s musings on tea breaks. And those moments threaten to kill the momentum of the script a little… luckily, there’s so much quality and goodwill generated by the rest of the script that it’s possible to almost forget those issues. But a quick tweak, lopping out five minutes of material, would make this show wall-to-wall gold.

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