Theatre review - No Place to Go

Ethan Lipton has no place to go. In order to cut costs, his company is relocating and Lipton’s not sure that he wants to move his wife, dog and cat to planet Mars. In this wonderful piece of cabaret theatre, Lipton outlines how the recession has finally hit his company and the future is particularly grim for a “permanent part-timer” like himself. Lipton works in “information refining”. He’s also an emerging playwright and “an old-time singer-songwriter” but this is not enough to sustain him. In fact his fellow band members, Eben Levy on electric guitar, Vito Dieterle on saxophone and Ian Riggs on bass/acoustic guitar, also have to support their musical careers with part-time work.

Lipton, in grey suit and checked shirt, is resolutely ordinary – an American Everyman, struggling to get by – although his sparkly tie hints at his showbiz aspirations. His bloodhound eyes and sad, sparse moustache adds to his general air of despair that immediately dispels when he bursts into song. Accompanied by the terrific three piece band Lipton sings of his woes and considers his options. If he goes to Mars he’ll continue to be part-time, without health insurance or a severance package and with no passage home. Lipton even contemplates moving back with his parents but swiftly realises this is impossible. In an hilarious aside he describes being shortlisted for a prestigious writing award – the monthly stipend is a dollar and a half.

This fabulous show comes fresh from New York (where it won an Obie) and is part of the Gate Theatre’s ‘These American Lives’ season. The subject is just as relevant for Brits and the jazz, blues and rock is played with passion and great panache. The Gate’s tiny space has been transformed into a cabaret-style club with small tables dotted around the stage. Angle-poise lamps hang from the ceiling and change with the musical mood. NO PLACE TO GO is a real joy – topical, poignant and funny – and leaves you wanting more. I am not alone. The audience clearly loved the show. Do not miss.

Running at the Gate Theatre until 14 December

Originally published by Theatreworld