Regional Review - POTUS

Tuesday, December 12, 2023
Talkin’ Broadway


Over the last few decades, women have continued to break through the glass ceiling professionally as they overcome the barriers to advance in a traditionally male-dominated world. In 2016 it seemed like one of those last glass ceilings would be broken with a woman finally becoming the president of the United States. While that didn't happen, Selina Fillinger's satirical political comedy, POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, depicts strong fictional women supporting a fictional male president who are just as capable, if not more qualified, of doing his job. Fillinger's comedy is a farcical endeavor that humorously inserts comic hijinks, some quite rude, into the absurdities of the White House. Stray Cat Theatre's production features a group of talented women on stage as well as many behind the scenes, but with swift pacing that sometimes is too fast for the comedic punches to land, and with little depth to the script, it amounts to only a mildly amusing farce with a few laugh out loud moments.

Director Katie McFadzen instills the farcical production with an appropriately over-the-top pace with larger-than-life portrayals from her cast, but some of the comical lines are said so fast you might miss them, along with the jokes they set up.

The creative elements are good, including the smart static set design by Tiana Torrilhon-Wood and her effective use of projections to swiftly change from one location to the next, but the fight choreography by Rachelle Dart is neither realistic nor comical and some of the cast look uncomfortable during the fight scenes.

The cast are all pretty good, with Mendoza being great as the harried press secretary, Corbin strong as the no-nonsense First Lady, McKay hilarious as the drug-dealing sister, Mohney fun as the meek secretary, Campbell bright as the kooky girlfriend, Branston forceful as the reporter, and Watts appropriately stressed as the chief of staff.

While I wish Fillinger's script were more sophisticated and offered a finely tuned and biting exploration of the highest office in the land, as it appears at first to be launching into, you can't blame Stray Cat for the shortcomings in the script. The cast is good and it's always nice to see women in strong parts.