Oh Dad Poor Dad Mamma’s Hung You In The Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad – Locks the Cradle
I have to say, I am really into the ladycentricness of Baltimore small theater this season. I’ve recently seen some of the best play choices for some of the most ripping performances from some of the most bad-ass bitches around. From Laura Malkus and Lynda McClary in Other Desert Cities, to Kat McKerrow in Beauty Queen of Leanne to Ann Turiano and Liz Galuardi in The Dum Dums to Casey Dutt in 13 Dead Husbands to Annex’s own Carly Bales in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, the women are killin’ it this year. And now we def have a formidable new star to add to that sparkly uterine galaxy. To call Sarah Heiderman’s performance in Oh Dad Poor Dad Mammas Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad a “tour de force” is to call a hurricane “rainy”. To be sure, Annex and director Mason Ross (who is just a kitten, by the way, his pre-show talk from under a knit beanie was just so fucking sweet, it even ended with “I love you”) are really at the top of their patented brand of freakazoid kitchporn with the Freudian nightmare that is Oh Dad. Madame Rosepettle (Heiderman) and her son, Jonathan (Martin Kasey) have blown into Port Royal, Jamaica, on an apparent “mourning tour” of the islands. Mousier Rosepettle has, sadly, died and mama and son are a right Rexian mess. Madame locks poor Jonathan, who is a spectrum in suspenders, away for her own, leaving him to feed her Venus flytraps and finger his coin/stamp/book collections. One day, though, he spies a giiiiiirl through his telescope and she comes on up to his ivory tower, all giggles and disturbingly non-age appropriate crinolines. Little Rosalie (Allyson Washington) rings Jonathan’s bells and throws his mother into an epic slut fit. The grieving widow has a paramour of her own, though, in The Commodore (Rjyan Kidwell), who learns enough to turn him green in an unforgettable night of romance with Madame. Rosalie turns up again to try to entice Jonathan to run away with her, but there are several indications that she might not exactly be the girl of his dreams (chiefly the way she writhes around on his mother’s bed and has a rather intimate knowledge of dealing with corpses). The cast is stellar, but like I said before, I just ate Heiderman up with. a. spoon. She’s serving creepy WASPY lock-jawed realness and is a long-in-the-tooth Gorey-printed heiress delight. Madame Rosepettle is like the lovechild of Edie Beale and Ursula the seawitch. Her pursed lips and laser-pointed glare (I somehow believe that Heiderman can narrow the aperture of her pupils on command, but that can’t be right, can it?) slay, slay, slay. The seduction scene between she and Kidwell is less of a temptation and more of a consumption. She has a twenty-minute monologue in there, which can be fatiguing, but not so, not so. I was hanging on her every word. It must have been hard to match Heiderman’s runaway style, but Kasey is more than up to it. His Norman Batesish motherboy routine is heart-stealing and bugged out. Washington is adorable and alarming, an interesting combo, with her Shirley Temple drag and huge, almost Joker huge, smile. Man, oh, man, that last fucking scene, tho. She’s a doozy. I reveled in Ross’s dedication to shit getting weird. He lets it happen, spin out, for minutes on end and it just keeps going and going (this is especially true with the bellboy chorus of Kidwell, Washington, Kathy Carson and Ty Agatstein, who are sometimes lively and dancing, sometimes comatose, zombie-like). Into it. The funhouse soundtrack (design by Patrick McMinn) and overly-warm skittle-colored light show (design by Evan Moritz) greatly add to the surreality of an already very surreal cat. I liked that the set (design by Mason Ross) is as bent as the family, the pastel walls themselves curve in to the tropical black hole that is Madame.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Climb on up on the bizarro calliope that is Oh Dad Poor Dad Mammas Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad. This is a first-class, wickedly fun, supercharged romp into the dark recesses of incestual energy. Don’t forget to bring a date!
Running at Baltimore Annex Theater until April 12th
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