“Other Life Forms,” now playing at the Keegan Theatre, is a profound examination of what it means to be human, as seen by someone who (probably) isn’t. The world premiere by Brandon McCoy, directed by Shirley Serotsky, has the rare charm of being both thoughtful and funny, prompting both laughs and questions in equal measure.
A piece like this, founded on a rather bizarre premise, succeeds chiefly on two things: the strength of the writing and the ability of its actors. … Particularly dazzling is John Loughney’s ability to switch gears instantly and utterly, starting in the second act. Even his body language changes and the moments when he breaks the fourth wall are startling and hilarious. Josh Sticklin and Brianna Letourneau, as the former lovers confronting their difficult past, are so real it sometimes hurts to watch, especially as they begin to talk about what drove them apart in the first place. Shanta Parasuraman, as a bewildered and frustrated (and surprisingly vulnerable) woman on a disastrous date, and Aidan Quartana, as an unwilling and bemused witness to this chaos, are completely invested and equally funny.
Matthew J. Keenan’s set design, which initially seemed fairly unassuming, was surprisingly versatile.
In all, while “Other Life Forms” starts slow, it’s worth sticking with, and overall winds up being fairly funny and exceptionally profound. It asks questions about the meaning of life, love, and reality, and does it all with a smile and a good sense of the absurd.