Tongue-in-cheek "Pulp" a Laugh Riot

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trashy lesbian fiction novels from the ‘50s are the sources for Stray
Cat Theatre’s deliciously fey new comedy, Pulp. Ron May, one of our
finest local directors, encourages extreme, tongue-in-cheek
melodramatic overacting from his fine comic acting ensemble to make
this show a laugh riot.

Patricia Kane’s play, set in July 1956,
takes place at The Well, “a cocktail lounge for ‘people of a certain
ilk’.” Terry Logan, a WAC pilot and World War II veteran, makes a play
for the general’s daughter. After that attempt fizzles, she leaves the
military, heads for Chicago, and lands at the sleazy lesbian bar where
she finds her true life as vampy and campy lesbians’ parade before her.
The characters, including a trio of wacked out women plus the really
outrageous nightclub chanteuse, Vivian Blaine, are all a hoot.

the characters go through their lives, madcap fun ensues. Some of the
humor stabs lesbians and that’s unfortunate, but the show is a
rollicking laugh riot as the characters parade through their wildly
over exaggerated mischief.

There are even several over-the-top
songs stressing the period’s smoky sexiness that adds to the zesty
comedy antics. Don’t go to Pulp expecting anything ordinary but do
plan to laugh your head off as the performers milk every bit of
silliness and devious innuendo out of the slyly ridiculous plot.
Telling you anymore plot details would spoil the fun for lucky
theatergoers who plan to see “Pulp.”

On top of May’s sharply
focused and deftly humorous direction, he has cast five comic actresses
who flow perfectly into the over drawn theatrics necessary to make Pulp so funny. Best is Johanna Carlisle’s Vivian, an over emoting,
pent-up dyke just waiting for the right moment to pounce on some
unsuspecting woman. She’s a master of the play’s crisply overdone
comedic style.

Also good are Kim Jeffries’ frustrated
bartender, Pepper, Tracy Payne’s Bing is complete with shocking red
hair, and Cameo Hill howls as the whiny Winny. That leaves Katie
Harroff’s masculine swagger as Terry who discovers her lesbian way at
the Well.

You’ll have a great time at the irreverent Pulp. It
continues through April 19. For tickets, call the Stray Cat Theatre box
office at 480-820-8022 or go online at