Thursday, August 18, 2011

Empire Stage: Mommie Queerest (reviews)

Jamie Morris' Mommie Queerest opened at Empire Stage on August 11, 2011.
For the last seven years Jamie Morris' twisted version, MOMMIE QUEEREST, has had sold-out audiences across the country re-thinking the oft-quoted tale with the simple premise, "What if Joan had really been a man all those years?"
Told by an all-male cast of four, MOMMIE QUEEREST entertains the notion that Crawford was actually a man in drag, a fact she hid from her fans, her children, and the world. Even when Christina finds out, takes revenge, and writes "Daddy Dearest" it's Joan who still has the last laugh.
Christopher Kenney directed a cast that featured Jamie Morris, Brooks Braselman, Andy Herrmann, and David R. Gordon.

Rod Stafford Hagwood reviewed wrote committed another hack job for The Sun-Sentinel:
The all-male-cast re-imagining of the camp classic movie and tell-all book "Mommie Dearest" isn't witty or even clever, it's just funny – raw funny. The kind of funny that makes you guffaw so loud, so hard and so long you feel light-headed by curtain call.
Pulling every theatrical trick in the book, playwright Jamie Morris (who also stars as Joan and is a dead ringer for Crawford … or Dunaway) starts there and spirals out of control – sometimes breaking through, other times falling flat. When it works, Morris slyly taps into how we really see "Mommie Dearest" in our head after the second or third viewing … like "Rocky Horror." Actually, a lot like "Rocky Horror."

When it doesn't work it's often because the clumsy transitions and misfired sound/lighting cues sabotage the punctuation of a handful of the 32 vignettes.

The cross-dressing comedy is a Rubik's Cube of imbecility, with Brooks Braselman (brattiest Christina ever), Andy Herrmann and David R. Gordon playing 25 characters, adept at quick-change artistry as they all are. They aren't acting really. They are mugging, but doing it with a kinetic force that just bowls you over.
Mommie Queerest plays a limited engagement at Empire Stage through August 28, 2011.

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