Screening the word "cops" left a half-minute unaccounted for. Blood vessels at the back of the brain wanted to break free as a temple tried to explode and the intestines were ready to collapse into a pit of devolving strawberry chaos. A sheet of notice mopped up large amounts of forehead sweat and when handed to the lady behind the box office, never seen again. Expecting to close the doors at 2000hrs, the PA tries to vocally usher in the straggling patrons on another night on the extended season of Debbie Does Dallas the musical. Failure here sees no strong arm tactics in holding off those just outside the session start.
Seating within the Everest theatre of the Seymour is extremely intimate. Knees knock as people close to or on the aisle contend with those who have seats in the middle. Fools remain seated, taking their faces into the passing belt buckles and getting their feet stomped. The rows on the floor front are lined up blindly after one another; the heads of the tall in front blocking back those for a few behind. Necks are visibly cranked behind the silhouettes and be damned those who cannot stand anyone choosing at any time to sit unabashedly erect. Armrest real estate is hot property, the swingers in the joint keeping it in for the sake of civility. Sound is lost and trapped within fine spatial design and thick padding; the entertainment here is on stage, not from the audience.
Debbie Does Dallas the musical, is the stage production of the supposed cult porno from the late 70s. High school cheerleader, Debbie Benton (played by Bambi Woods in the source film), starts a small, illegal, tax evading business with some friends after school in her efforts to escape the confines of Anytown, AS, USA toward the bright promise land of Dallas, Texas (Cowboy country). Borrowing all of the plot and not as much of the skin, the musical strips it for serious laughs with a touched and naked soul.
Expertly mad shadowy flipping and turning between scenes sees one set piece used over and over again with great second hand teachings. The only other piece of furniture is the bench for the locker room scenes and now, not even its actual existence is certain. Maybe that too was the locker/desk/counter/car used throughout the night. Such economy!
Lisa Adam, cast as the sweet and affable Debbie Benton, is herself sweet and affable. The line between the personalities is blurring and there is a shock of an imaginary pregnancy popping up with a peach flavoured Archer's Spirit jumping rudely into the picture. Leading an athletic and talented cast, Adam shows off a body with smooth lines and tones as she locks down the eyes and makes paying attention and following the slightly sad story easy as she is Debbie.
If sleaze is the deal with David Greene's Mr. Greenfelt it's hard to find over the lonely and pathetic old man that shines through. Octavia Barron-Martin is Lisa, but not of the actor, and affects this extreme accent of a spoilt valley-girl. Nobody in the cast ever mixes their accents with each other and like watching years of The Simpsons, pinpointing the geographical location of Anytown is hard. With the guys playing multiple roles, figuring out who and what are made simpler by the backgrounds and situations, so that difficulty never even comes up.
A feisty dry hump with the innuendos, fast on the tongue and with a hint of sweetness in the air, the production wears a tight, busty sweater with no sense of fault or apology. Funny, smart and extremely enjoyable.
On a desk outside sits a woman selling programmes, T-shirts, lanyards, and cast albums of the show. A beefy bloke at the table tries desperately to convince himself that he can fit into the squeeze tight tee on offer. The woman lets him know that there are other sizes available on another day and most other guys choose the sort of sleeve length that wouldn't bunch under the armpits or cry as they rip from being shoved on a body too big for its fibres. Zoe Ventoura (a stunner who leaves the show a smouldering quiver as Roberta) takes a distant sip from her bottle as she walks into the after show mingle. Distracting the man, trouble brews in his mind: T-shirt now? T-shirt later?
Reviewed on Thursday, 16 September 2004