David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
Dee Dee Windom may have been a "slut of Olympic proportions," but like Hyman Roth in Godfather II, she always made money for her partners.
Back in the 50s, she handled the famous and not so famous movie stars. All benefitted from her financial advice. In private, she also "handled" - nudge, nudge - female clients. She ran the Desert Knight Hotel in Palm Springs, where the closeted, "Twilight set" could cavort free from incriminating flash bulbs.
Zsa Zsa Gershick's Coming Attractions, in its world premiere at Moxie, begins 30 years later, after Dee Dee's funeral. The hotel's seen better times. Young Rebecca Metz (an athletic Amanda Morrow), aspiring film director, wants to tell the story of the Desert Knight: the romance, the intrigue, in an idealized, Technicolor version, while the other mourners will retell the tale tawdry black and white.
Angelica Ynfante's pool-side set (which puts the audience in the water) has a decayed, though not quite decadent look. Dani Decker (M'Lafi Thompson), the manager, picks up after every one else and then really cleans up in the end.
The script has Gerschick's knack for knock-out one liners (though the one about what fish do in water's a dead steal from W. C. Fields - who also didn't drink it, he said, because "water rusts the pipes"). And the premise is an attraction in itself.
But what the often visually static play needs is a lot less talk and more theatricality - Act two in particular, where everyone tries to set the record straight, the arch repartee wears thin, and the story stumbles along.
An exception: Donovan Tate (Benjamin Cole, a tower of cross-dressed glitz) OD's on Quaaludes and alcohol. Anita Bryant (a splendly funny Samantha Ginn) materializes next to an orange tree and does a spacey, homophobic rant that's not only hilarious - in its delivery - it also encapsulates the McCarthy era attitudes that exiled Dee Dee and friends to their hideaway.
Wearing one of Missy Bradstreet's elegant wigs, and Jeannie Galioto's slinky red dress, Robin Christ has a field day as Veronica Scott, ex-over-the-top film star who metamorphoses from a gin-swilling, vitriolic villain into a reluctant hero.
Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area, playing through July 1.