4F is one of those shows that looks like a whole lot of fun to be in, and hilarious if you know one of the actors in it, but from the outside, it is a funny show that needs to cut about 40 minutes of the un-funny out.
review by Elizabeth Devlin
If you were to invite eight of your most entertaining friends to your house and ask them all to parody different middle and high school stereotypes, you would probably end up with something very similar to “4F: the New Class”, the new comedy being produced by The Gossip Factory. Considering that the show was conceived, written, directed, designed by and starring the eight ensemble members, it would not be surprising if that is how the work came about.
The problem with this 'living-room' scenario, however, is that with no true storyline to propel the characters forward (the new kid is trying to start a club, but it’s the thinnest of plots), the parody begins to lose pace. The jokes become repetitive, the pop culture riffs grow tiring.
The nonstop mockery is funny for the first half hour, but then declines: making the ‘new kid’ a gay republican is a funny shtick…until it’s not. Same for the ignorant unwed mother from the south, and the class jock’s closeted homosexuality.
All of the actors are talented and funny, more so in their student roles than when they take on various teacher personas – the cool student teacher, the ‘Nam vet social studies teacher, the deaf math teacher (and when did that become a stereotype?).
This show makes sure that the following groups do not remain unscathed: republicans, conservative Christians, immigrant workers, WASPy employers of immigrant workers and anyone who was ever popular in school, ad infinitum.
The simplest moments are often the most entertaining: when the Dirty Kid asks out the goth girl, it’s funny because the audience cares about the outcome. While the Miss Teen South Carolina and Brittney Spears riffs are funny, they tire much faster than the comedy found in the actual characters.
4F is one of those shows that looks like a whole lot of fun to be in, and hilarious if you know one of the actors in it, but from the outside, it is a funny show that could have cut about 40 minutes of the un-funny out.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.