I’ve never been a wedding fan, unless there’s an open bar. The best one I attended, I made out with the bride by the buffet and rendezvoused with the padre after the reception. It was over by midnight and I got home just in time to turn into a frog… I mean fag.
CONFOUNDING ENTHUSIASM. Lisa Horner and David Hein as mother and son.(Lindsay Anne Black)The current Mirvish production of My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding tries to be an unconventional approach to conjugal bliss but falls short of anything remotely edgy. The funniest scenes occur at Hooters. Nevertheless, it’s an amusing journey as creator/performer David Hein and cowriter Irene Carl Sankoff present a somewhat pedestrian attempt to encourage more inclusive forms of matrimony.
The cast does a stellar job of bringing characters to life. Unfortunately, some of those characters are not fully developed and need a little more story to titillate fully. Likewise, the score is filled with predictable melodies and laughs, in dire need of more layered musical/narrative arrangements to bring them to life.
Astrid Van Wieren, in a variety of supporting roles, and Kyle Orzech, as the young David and a Hooters waitress in drag, shine in their parts but suffer from under-use. At 95 minutes, one wants the musical to be shorter — or longer, with a couple more songs for the bit parts and an intermission for those of us craving a pee break.
Lisa Horner, as the lesbian Jewish mother, glows with infectious expression and amusing angst, but needs to explore her diaphragm a little more as she tends to play the annoying aspects of her character with a bit too much high pitch — but that could be poor amplification. Rosemary Doyle’s lezzie witch Jane is lovely, while Robert B Kennedy’s bald, hunky Garth has rare moments of deep-throated alto that aren’t used enough in the pivotal role of the nouveau lesbian’s ex-husband. David Hein’s Narrator — he also plays his older self — has a bewildering song called “Straight White Male” that could be more effective had it evolved into a parodic take on privileged identity that, as it stands, sounds shallow and whiny. Songs like “You Don’t Need a Penis” and “Hot Lesbian Action” have the potential for steamy song and dance routines.
But this is Canada, one of the most “polite,” apologetic countries on earth, and one of the first to endorse same-sex marriage. There’s a heartwarming liberationist history slide-show number near the end that draws proud tears from even the most bitter poofter. And I’m not one to spend much time defending Hooters, but the wings are fab and the servers are not the simple “sluts” one of the musical’s lyrics suggests. C’mon guys, give one of those busty gals a song that fleshes her character out a little further than her healthy rack.
Low-end production values come as a surprise since this is a Fringe show handpicked up by the Mirvish empire. And yet, bravo to a team that has brought a small show to a main-stage venue. In the spirit of The Drowsy Chaperone and Evil Dead the Musical, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding could really go places. And with that possibility in mind, one hopes the creators might find time to spice it up a bit and move the story into more radical Canadian-lesbian terrain. How about Carole Pope and kd lang as the moms?