Archikulture Digest

Sordid Lives

Sordid Lives

By Del Shores

Directed by Fran & Frank Hilgenberg

Theatre Downtown, Orlando FL</strong>

We all have sordid lives, but in a small town your life becomes community theatre. Today’s topic is Peggy Williamson’s death; she tripped over the wooden legs of her lover G. W. Nethercott (James Zelly) in a sleazy hotel room, hit her head, and went to her Methodist heaven. The funeral is contentious, Latrelle (Katrina Tharin) thinks a mink stole on the corpse is inappropriate in the 108 degree heat, but La Vonda (Marion Marsh) knows dead people don’t sweat, and anyway Peggy loved that stole. Looming large is the potential attendance of Brother Boy (Doug Boardman-Shorts), Peggy put in the state loony bin 23 years ago for cross dressing with extreme prejudice. Grandson Ty (Adam DelMedico) debates as well, he’s fled to gay friendly NYC and gotten a job in the Soaps. As the donated funerary meals pile up on Sissy Hickey’s (Pam Baumann) kitchen table, spurned Noleta Nethercott (Peri Hope) and La Vonda pop some valium and go into town to settle some business. They shoot up a bar and rob a liquor store and convince Wardell (Dean Walkuski) to pay for beating Brother Boy so many years ago. It’s one of the more interesting funerals your likely to attend this year.

Complex as the story sounds, the humor lies in stereotypes of small town red necks, not that there isn’t some truth in these rolls. Bitsy Mae Harling (Victoria Burns) has a bad reputation but a great C&W voice and the tattoos to prove it. DelMedico’s therapy loving gay boy distanced himself from his loony family but hadn’t completely accepted himself, and is the most sympathetic. While internally conflicted, he’s escaped and when he returns it’s on his terms. Marsh’s La Vonda was the most convincing of the family; she burned with small town vengeance for 23 years before executing it. More comedy came from Zelly and his wooden legs and Juanita Bartlett’s (Caroline Ross) cleavage, but the Sex-on-stage award goes to drugged out Dr Bollinger (Jamie Lyn Hawkins) and her attempted seduction of dragged out Brother Boy.

It’s a silly, gag oriented show, and while there are brilliant moments, some scenes seem to drag on and when the show stops, it really just stops. All these miserable people who have tolerated each other seem to come together, but I suspect even the blackmail photos of G. W. dancing with the Odell brothers in their underwear will lead to another 23 years of bad feelings. That’s why the Big City offers such solace – no one cares what you did back home.

For more information on Theatre Downtown, please visit http://www.theatredowntown.net


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