The Book of Mormon
Maybe THE most hype-heavy show ever to come to the San Diego Civic lives up to all the accolades. Witten by the creators of South Park, the musical is guaranteed to offend everyone. Its impish spirit will also evoke waves of laughter, as young Mormon missionaries try to convert natives in a Ugandan village so bleak they curse the Almighty.
Somehow, some way, a new religion results. Along the way the wondrously crafted show brims with talent and invention, from the cast to the production numbers to the large orchestra.
One drawback: the farther from the stage you sit, the more blurry the mic’ing. Which is a crying shame. What with the prices they charge, you’d think the Civic would have worked out the problem by now.
One of Samuel Beckett’s most arresting comedy-dramas gets a first-rate staging by Sledehammer Theatre and director Scott Fedlsher.
Winnie, in her 50s, is waist-deep in a mound. Willie — maybe her husband? — sits on the other side, reading a newspaper and grunting occasionally.
Winnie pulls objects from a black bag (a revolver among them) and recalls her past in fragments. The astonishing thing given her situation: she’s upbeat. The smallest joy creates a “happy day.”
In Act two of the 90-minute piece, she’s up to her neck and still draws joy from “tender,” and smaller and smaller, “mercies.”
People say the mound represents “entropy” or the downward pull of growing old. Could be. After all, at one point Winnie shouts “earth you old extinguisher!” But that just gets you in the door. What Winnie says is what matters as she fights to keep her inner light from extinguishing.
Dana Hooley gives one of the year’s finest performances as Winnie. Make that Winnie’s, since she floats into the past and recalls the intrepid woman’s life at various stages, becoming each one along the way.
Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Boulevard, Suite N, Rolando
$27 - $40
Mud Blue Sky
The title intrigues, and Marisa Wegrzyn’s serio-comedy explains how the blue got so muddy.
Three flight attendants in a time of transition: Angie loved her job so much when she was laid off it broke her heart. Brave, disillusioned Beth’s contemplating retirement. And egocentric Sam probably should, since she prefers to have everything done for her.
Assemble them in room 208 of a cheap hotel near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, throw in Jonathan, a teenaged drug-pusher, innocent wunderkind, stir gently (the play does have some lulls), and Moxie Theatre serves up a very funny play with contemporary relevance.
The ensemble work is quite good, and Deanna Driscoll’s performance as see-the-blue-behind-the-mud Beth is outstanding.