“Sordid Lives” review

From the Louisville Courier-Journal (online today; it will be in the printed paper tomorrow), a very nice review of our play. My part is in bold. šŸ™‚

Theater Review: ‘Sordid Lives’

By Charles Whaley
Special to The Courier-Journal

Gee, it’s great to have those garrulous, quirky Southern family members from “Sordid Lives,” the rowdy yet strangely affecting “black comedy about white trash” by Del Shores, back onstage here.

Louisville Repertory Company had a runaway success with this endearingly dysfunctional clan in 2004, bringing the show back two weeks after closing because of popular demand.

Three generations of Grandma Peggy’s outlandish family and assorted peculiar friends are brought together after she dies in a cheap motel room, having tripped over the detached wooden legs of her best friend’s husband, G.W. Nethercott (Ken Parsons), with whom she was shacked up.

Her two daughters ā€” uptight Latrelle (well played by Amy S. Lewis) and gaudy LaVonda (a very funny Alice Ryan Chiles) ā€” argue over whether Mama should be buried with her mink stole in such hot weather.

Sissy Hickey, Mama’s sister (solidly portrayed by Janice Walter), is having nicotine fits as she stings herself with rubber bands to try to stop smoking amid all the stress.

Ty Williamson, Latrelle’s gay actor son (Todd Zeigler) reluctantly returns to the Texas town where he never felt free to be who he is, as Zeigler tells us in touching monologues.

And then, introduced in Act Two, is Sissy and Peggy’s transvestite brother Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram (Darren McGee) who has been in the state lunatic asylum for 23 years. He was sent there after his best friend Wardell Owens (Jim Jeffries), who beat him up, found out that he was in love with him. Wardell rectifies this before play’s end.

McGee is sensational as the sweet-natured, heartbreakingly simple Brother Boy, who identifies with Tammy Wynette and other female country singers. He fails miserably in being “de-homosexualized” even after 68 treatments by Dr. Eve Bollinger (the excellent Michelle Chalmers).

Balladeer Bitsy Mae Harling (Tiffany Taylor) strums a guitar and sings beautifully as she strolls through scenes in the part played by Olivia Newton-John in the 2001 cult film. “Ain’t it a bitch, sorting out our sordid lives?” she croons.

McGee and Chiles are the only two repeating their roles from 2004, and they’re faultless. The show, directed by Bill Breuer, needs a first act that moves faster. But with Brother Boy’s appearance and his set-to with Dr. Eve the second act picks up speed that propels things to a fine finish.

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2 responses to ““Sordid Lives” review

  1. It was wonderful, and you were fabu — much better than that Aussie in the film version. ;)=

  2. Thanks! šŸ™‚ We’re hoping for more sellouts this weekend. The audiences have been very enthusiastic, and the entire experience has been a lot of fun.

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