Blown Sideways Through Life
Directed by Bryan D. Fonseca
Through Feb. 27
Blown Sideways Through Life at the Phoenix Theatre works on a theme most of us can relate to: working a job - not a career, just a job that keeps you one step ahead of the bill collectors.
Julie Dixon in Claudia Shear's 'Blown Sideways Through Life'
Playwright Claudia Shear had 64 of those jobs, from waitress to whorehouse receptionist, on her resume before she finally made it as an actress and playwright. She turned those experiences into a one-woman show, which actress Julie Dixon takes on.
But before the audience gets to be regaled by horror stories of fat and firings, we sit through a 10-song set by jazz vocalist Deb Mullins on the theme of working jobs and living life. Though she is an accomplished singer, the canned accompanying music deadens the performance, and she takes up the entire first half of the show. No kidding. After she's done, the lights come up over your cabaret seating and you go get a cookie. While the idea of mingling music and show was a good one, it was taken to excess and lost its appeal.
On to the show. Dixon is engaging as Shear, whose work experience began at age 8. Her quick-fire delivery always comes back to the same subjects: getting fired and being fat, the two things that dominated her life before success took hold. Two great lessons come from these sometimes sad tales: First, Shear determined to not let her work day define her day. She made such activities as fencing top priorities so that when she finally gave way to sleep at night, she could say she did something of her own with her time. Second, a 6-foot black transvestite convinced her to be happy. This marathon of alternating self-loathing and determination to complete a wilderness story never leaves Dixon lagging - she holds up to the end, just in time to let us know that we all have a story to tell.
Blown Sideways Through Life continues at the Phoenix Theatre through Feb. 27; call 635-PLAY.