The Movement Theatre Company's “Last Laugh”, written and performed by Eric Lockley and directed by Jonathan McCrory, is the perfect showcase for the incredibly talented actor, dancer, and singer. Eric Lockley is going to have a brilliant career in the entertainment industry. He can do everything, and he does it with great style, originality, and — here’s the gold — ability. He never looks like he’s working, his movements are so natural. This man was made for the stage and the stage was made for him.
“Last Laugh” tells the story of two black entertainers at the top of their game in Hollywood during its heyday. It is a comedy that explores racial issues in the industry, from the exploitation of stereotypes to the legacy of slavery -- topics that can be very difficult to handle while keeping the material edgy, current, and relevant. Lockley, the play's author and single performer, certainly knows the issues well and presents them with a certain amount of insight. Yet while his ability as an actor, singer and dancer are gigantic, the text of the play, while occasionally funny, felt somewhat manipulative and had moments that could only be described as flat -- as, for example, when one of the characters (a Hollywood dancer) says “I’d rather play a butler than work as one.” While there are some very nice touches of irony here and there, overall Lockley’s talent deserves better material.
That said, it is worth going to see "Last Laugh" just to be able to see Lockley in action. Whether he’s singing (fabulous voice), dancing (fabulous tap), or just moving in place with an almost gymnastic, sensual rhythm, Lockley is a pleasure to watch. And, as if his singing and dancing ability weren’t enough, the man can act! He seamlessly switches in and out of a dozen characters in an hour with great results. Lockley is a triple threat and an entertainer of the old school; even though he is very young, he has the force of a locomotive.