Friday, December 11, 2009

So Help Me God!

photo: Richard Termine

One of the definitions of "delicious" for me is "vintage backstage comedy". This one, circa 1927 from Maurine Dallas Watkins (who wrote Roxie Hart, the basis for the musical Chicago), is short on spicy zingers (and a few door slams short of true farce) but it's plenty tasty anyhow. No surprises with the theme or the plot - the wicked stage and all that - so the fun is all in the playing. Comic delight Kristen Johnston, leading a thoroughly capable cast which also includes Anna Chlumsky and Catherine Curtin, plays a glamorous stage diva whose self-absorption knows no bounds as she manipulates everyone in sight, from green high-minded playwright to smitten leading man. She's a hoot and a half, especially in the second act which demands a bit of physical comedy of the "hung over from an all night bender" variety.

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