Review by: Steven Spriensma
“The Roommates” centers on Jake and Rob, two friends inseparable since childhood, who have been living in the same apartment together for many years. When Jake’s girlfriend decides she wants him to move in with her, the two part ways, setting off a series of hijinks and misunderstandings that all come to a head in the final act.
If you read that and said, “gee whiz, it sounds like a sitcom!” well, you’d be right- The Roommates is an upcoming YouTube series slated for release this fall. Whether this play serves as a prologue or an overview remains to be seen, but as is, the play works as a self-contained story. It uses a faux-documentary style between major incidences to set up the characters and their feelings, mostly to good effect.
It’s a shamelessly bromantic production, and funny, even if the material may be better suited for YouTube. The cast is well rounded and at ease with one another, like they’ve actually grown up together, though some of them fall into classic TV pitfalls (especially PG, the goofy, big man sidekick). The two leads have a nice chemistry together, which also makes the bros-being-gay jokes they serve easier to swallow.
It’s the female characters that get the short shrift- of the three, one exists to be the shallow, killjoy Queen of the Harpies, and another to serve as the proof that one of our lead dorks is blind to true love. There is a lot of potential for the latter, however, so hopefully the web series fleshes out her character more.
The Roommates is easily the most laidback show I’ve taken in at the Citadel, which is something considering you see a lot of hard work and skill onstage. If you’re looking for some straightforward, funny entertainment at Fringe, The Roommates is one to see