The Well of Horniness – Lips Trick
A REVIEW BY THE BAD ORACLE
Oooo! Oooo! I’ve been waiting for a chance to use this joke and trust me, there is no more appropriate time than the present. Here it is: “Why are strands of spaghetti and sorority girls alike? Because both are straight until they’re wet!”. If you didn’t like that zinger then I would stay the fuck away from Holly Hughes’ The Well of Horniness, currently up at Iron Crow. If you did like it, though, you’re going to go ahead and be the target audience for this show. Speaking of spaghetti, much like that glutenous pasta hitting the proverbial wall, director Julianne Franz throws everything she has at you and sees what sticks. And most of it does and what doesn’t goes by in such a whizbang flash that you won’t mind it. I gotta tell you, I was hella cranky walking into BTP last night (sample note from pre-show: “Why the fuck is Sean Elias’ hair so fucking on point all the time ANNOYING”) but this shit turned my frown upside down. I really love where Iron Crow has taken their season this year. The last thing Crow show I reviewed was The Revelation of Bobby Pritchard, a somber exercise in painful and personal coming out storytelling. The Well of Horniness, in delightful contrast, is an extra-large pizza with cheese. The script is like a lesbian pulp novel (Dyke on the Loose!, Pagan Summer, Sisterhood of the Flesh) crossed with every other vaguely 60’s to 80’s piece of pop-culture detritus that Hughes could think to cram in there, including local TV commercials, radio soaps, film noir serials and Sally Jesse Raphael-esque talk shows. The scene is set when we learn via an omnipotent announcer (Andrea Bush) that Georgette (Ann Turiano) , a vixen with a dress cut up to her west side glory, has recently broken it off with her lover, hussy galore Babs (Maranda Kosten). Georgette suddenly has eyes (and hands!) for Vicki (Elizabeth Scollan), the white-n-uptight fiancee of her brother, Rod (Kelly Hutchison), a man who appears to have an overstuffed sub in his screamingly loud plaid pants. Babs sees red, Georgette turns up dead, and it’s up to female dick Garnet McClit (Katie Hileman) to get on top of the case. Surrounding all this are various words-from-our-sponsors, dressing room cat fights and about one gazillion snorty puns, of which I am a HUGE fan, obvs. What would read as terribly stale, bad SNL sketch humor if played hetero here spins to an incredibly high energy clam shake that’s as smart as it is crude, like the very best OK Cupid messages. The always delightful Ann Turiano only further cements her rep as a hilariously awesome physical comic, especially during an extremely literal muff dive sequence that had me wheezing I was laughing so hard. She’s Glass Mind, of course, everyone who comes out of that shop is as on the ball as a trained seal when it comes to full body humor. This is the second show in a row that I got to see her do an epic man-spread, I’m beginning to think it’s just for me (hey, a girl can dream). I last saw Elizabeth Scollan in The Hyacinth Girl and Other Broken Images and pegged her as one to watch and since I’m never wrong, I was right. She tip tappies around the stage in white kitten heels, squeaking and playing that pearl necklace for all it’s worth, the wide-eyed, eager new girl in the pink cardigan looking to get bad. Katie Hileman’s Garnet McClit might not win any awards for her police work (I think fingerbanging the suspect is a dildont) but it’s certainly hardboiled hilar and Maranda Kosten does the foxy shady villain thing to the hilt as the murderous Babs. Andrea Bush has a billion lines but keeps it moving as the narrator, I got shades of Johnny Carson, Ceasar Flickerman and a just a pop of Dick Clark from her delivery. And I live! live for Chloe Mikala. All of them work the comic timing, but girl has got a gift. From her Groucho doctor to her pirated puppet show, she always, always leaves you wanting more. Set (design by Mollie Singer) was necessarily restrained but smart, transforming effortlessly into a forest, a fish (of fucking course!) restaurant, a hospital and more in the blink of an eye. Costumes (design by Wil E. Crowther) had their tongues firmly in their cheeks, especially that mustache on Hutchison. Sound design by Julianne Franz was fucking priceless, I especially loved the not-quiiiite-synched up ringing phones. One thing, though – I’m not sure what in all that’s good they were using as prop cigarettes, but those things smelled like Satan’s asshole. Good Christ, don’t sit in the front rows unless you want to use an inhaler.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Holy shit The Well of Horniness is fresh as a Summer’s Eve and funny as fuck. Director Julianne Franz, writer Holly Hughes, and a stellar cast have created a production that’s kind of a Turing Test for friendships – if you’re sitting next to me and not laughing, GTFO of my life. There’s really nothing better than a group of smart, awesome women making genital jokes. This show is as priceless as a golden plated vag and has balllz for dayyyz. Go now!
Running at Baltimore Theatre Project until June 20th
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