Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Legend of Georgia McBride ***

Dave Thomas Brown & Afton Williamson. Photo by Joan Marcus

This play by Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man), kicking off MCC’s new season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, could serve as a textbook example of a guilty pleasure. Its plot is as predictable as a Swiss train and as deep as a thin mint, but its appeal is hard to resist. Casey (Dave Thomas Brown), a charming slacker with an underdeveloped sense of responsibility, and Jo (Afton Williamson), his lovely wife, are already struggling to get by when they learn Jo is pregnant.

Casey loses his gig as Elvis impersonator at a failing bar in the Florida panhandle when Eddie (Wayne Duvall), the owner, decides to see whether a drag show will attract more business. Eddie's cousin Tracy (the superb Matt McGrath) turns up with friend Rexy (the ever-reliable Keith Nobbs, who also plays Jason, Casey’s old friend and landlord) to take over the entertainment. They let Casey stay on as bartender. When Rexy goes on a bender, Casey is pressed into service to do her faux Edith Piaf act. A one-time favor turns into a smart career move. As Georgia McBride, Casey become a local star.

Dave Thomas Brown. Photo by Joan Marcus
Of course, he has not told his wife about his change of occupation. You can figure out the rest. This slender material is greatly enhanced by a terrific cast, outlandish costumes by Anita Yavich, even more outlandish wigs by Jason Hayes, an appropriately seedy set by Donyale Werle, hilarious choreography by Paul McGill and smooth direction by Mike Donahue. You may not remember it five minutes later, but you are likely to have a good time. Running time: 1 hr, 40 minutes, no intermission.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVED it, and I think it's much more than slight fun, and far from trivial. Rather than as thin as a thin mint, I found it a rich feast, and as it developed, it became deeper and increasingly moving. Ultimately. it's a joyous celebration of and testament to the human spirit. I was with three friends, all older straight women, and every one of us floated out of the theater giddily happy to be alive.

I think you'd have to be dead not to love it!