Saturday, June 16, 2007

Theatre Review -- The Dirty Goddess A Fairytale for Big Kids

One Word Review:

One Sentence Review: Women having fun, ball-busting, and winking at the audience while they do it.

"The Dirty Goddess" is billed as "
a bawdy and brazen romp into the weird world of Eastern European Fairytales. A poetic celebration of age old storytelling traditions, toasted with one too many shots of tequila." It starts as a rather straight-forward but humorous mash-up of Cinderella/Baba-Yaga tales. The house on legs steals the scene, despite having no dialog.

After our protagonist accidently burns down the house with her evil step-mother in it (and step-sisters, and oh yeah, her father), she is lost in the woods, helpless and alone. She encounters a series of men (the horse-head masks are a wonderful bit of costume design), each of which use and discard her in turn. This leaves her shoe-less and striped of dignity when she stumbles out of the woods and back into civilization.

She stumbles into the tender-hooks of a madame, who promises to make her a goddess. Instead, she gets dressedup as Little Red Riding Hood in thigh-high red leather boots and tossed onto stage. She is violated again, this time by the audience, and ends up in a puddle on the stage, naked, vulnerable, and alone.

Overall the acting, live music, and costumes made the play come across with an energy that was infectious. This let the play ride over the rough spots, where the plot jumped from one thread to another.
The lighting/staging needed a bit more work too.

Have the talking vagina suddenly jump out on stage is a bit disconcerting, but maybe that was the point. It does go to prove that it isn't only men that have blood-flow-to-the-brain issues. The second act, in the woods, was especially well done. It could have been heavy-handed ball busting, but it is done with a nod and a wink and an acknowledgment in the dialog that we all are responsible for where we are.

This isn't quite as true of the third act, where the moralizing gets a bit stilted and thick. Well done, but not very subtle. Personally, I like my revelations slipped into the kidneys like a thin stilleto, causing enough surprise that you can't even scream. This you could smell coming like a three-day-old haddock upside the head.

Stilted in places as the writing may have been, it was worth the time and $10. It had a good, fun vibe, and it makes me want to see more of the Pumphouse Theatre Ignite! Festival. Try to catch some tonight if you can.

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