ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Phildelphia Review
Divine / Intervention
Despite lots of comic one-liners, a laff riot this is not. Brash remarks are tamped down by the interplay between Glenn and the drag queen who doesn't exist independently. They duel with their duality. When criticized, Divine retorts: "Bitch. I don't speak unless you open your mouth." Together they touch sore points, continually exploring sensitive issues in variations: personal victories, insecurities, and slights endured. Divine has the killer lines, exaggerated like her makeup: "We are the 300 pound faggot that can fucking scream back." Glenn carries the heart, finesse and pain. But criticized by Divine for dropping lovers like excess baggage, he snaps: "Everyone leaves me unless I leave them first." He wants respect and some sort of normalcy in his crazy life.
It turns out that Glenn is divided in himself, beyond his issues with Divine. Of two minds about his life, he's going through changes and his plans don't include her. This does not go over well with Divine.
Devised by director Braden Chapman (aka Mimi Imfurst) and written by E. Dale Smith, Divine / Intervention is quite literal. Visitations are by people from the past, not ghostly presences or anything like that. The energy in the text largely derives from the drama queen's entertaining swearing and acting out, while the dilemma of the serious character actor provides the heft, nuance, and ultimately the irony.
The quite simple set is ready to travel. On the evening I saw the show, a little catastrophe of falling lights was dealt with handily. The actors, all of whom hail from Philadelphia and environs, didn't miss a beat. The leads, played by Ryan Walter (Glenn) and Bobby Goodrich (Divine), are good actors and drag queens who are pretty well matched for experience, height, and the requisite avoirdupois. The several actors in supporting roles differentiate their multiple characters well and are ready for the Big Apple.
Divine / Intervention is heading to New York for the NY International Fringe Festival, where it will be staged at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in August. In Divine's immortal words: "New York doesn't hug you, bitch. New York tells you to quit crying."