fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Dirty Blonde

The first show of Signature's new season is Dirty Blonde and I went to see it yesterday afternoon. I'd bought a full season subscription this time out, by the way, since there was enough I wanted to see to make it worth taking chances on the shows I wasn't as sure of. I'm glad I did, since otherwise I might have skipped this one. I might not have, though, since: a) I've liked playwright Claudia Shear for a long time (since I saw "Blown Sideways Through Life") and b) it got excellent reviews.

Anyway, Dirty Blonde is "a play with music" about Mae West and about two people who come together because of her. The action switches between the story of Mae and the stories of Jo, an aspiring actress, and Charlie, a film librarian who Jo meets at Mae West's grave. Emily Skinner played Jo and Mae, while Hugh Nees played Charlie and several other male characters. The other member of the cast was J Fred Shiffman who played a number of the men in Mae's life, including her husband Frank Wallace. All of them turned in excellent performances.

The script is witty and adult, in the best sense of that word. I did feel a bit uncomfortable about a scene in which the two men do a very swishy drag queen bit, but I admit it was very funny. (And I've read two reviews by gay men who didn't seem bothered by it, so I may have been hypersensitive without good reason.) The two stories were nicely balanced and, even without costume changes, it was easy to keep track of which set of characters were involved at any given time.

All in all, this was a fine reminder of why Signature is one of the best local theatre companies - and why they won the regional Tony award.
Tags: theatre

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