By Susan Froyd
By Byron Graham
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davies
By Josiah M. Hesse
By Bree Davies
By Susan Froyd
By Kate Gibbons
Dixie's Tupperware Party. Dixie is a booze- and sex-addicted, trash-talking, child-neglecting ex-con from Alabama who holds Tupperware parties in her trailer, and she's invited you to this one.
Dixie's Tupperware Partyat the Galleria really
isa Tupperware party — you get a name tag and raffle number when you come in, and there are pens and catalogues on all the tables. Dixie, your hostess, greets you in high white heels and a crotch-skimming skirt, earrings swinging, red hair piled high. Collapsible bowls, punch and party setups, plastic jugs and ribbed mugs (uh-huh) gleam in shades of lime, blue, orange and purple on a table behind her; by the time she's through, you won't be able to look at a plastic storage container without giggling. Just the words "collapsible bowl" will set you off. Dixie is also Kris Andersson, an actor who realized he could make an actual living selling Tupperware and began hosting parties. As he worked, the character of Dixie developed. Andersson brought his show to New York's Fringe Festival in 2004, and it caught fire from there. This production is seriously dirty, and it's also one terrific evening. Dixie is a great character: She doesn't give an inch, but she's as appealing as she is wicked. And Andersson not only loves Dixie, but he loves Tupperware, too — and he's not being snarky about it. So no matter how much Dixie screws up her spiel or how many lewd jokes she makes about the uses to which you can put "the best plastic crap on the planet," there's a reverential quality to the way she fondles the goods that makes you actually want to buy them. Presented by Denver Center Attractions through January 2, Garner Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 303-893-4100, www.denvercenter.org.
Don Juan in Hell. Four chairs, filled by four characters — Don Juan, Dona Ana, her father the Commander, and the Devil himself — all engaged in a long, long argument. It's an argument filled with wit, wisdom, humor, flashes of insight and pure Shavian contrarianism. As the action begins, Dona Ana has just arrived in hell, and she's quite peeved to realize it, given the conspicuous religiosity with which she lived her long life. Don Juan serves as her guide, and assures her that an eternity spent in hell is far more pleasurable than anything going on in heaven. His point is reinforced by the Devil, a jovial soul, and by the Commander, who is so bored with heaven that he's come to request a change of residence. The point of this essentially plotless play is a protracted discussion about just about everything on earth, including the ways in which humans spend their limited time. The Devil has a long and eloquent monologue about the violent uses to which man puts his intellect, resources and energy. Shaw uses Don Juan's scornful rebuttal to take digs at all his favorite whipping boys: politicians, businessmen, the English in general, and artists. Art is seductive, Don Juan admits, but it ultimately serves only to enslave men to women, whose job it is to birth the race and rule in the home. But despite his intellect and blistering wit, Don Juan's essential belief system is romantically woolly-headed. While the Devil advocates hedonism because he believes there's no such thing as human progress, Don Juan — who represents Shaw himself — argues for a kind of mystical evolution in which the human mind continues to develop in breadth and wisdom and ultimately transforms the human race. It's fascinating to watch these ideas zipping around the stage like little white Ping-Pong balls. And though you do occasionally feel a bit like a kid subjected to an overlong scolding, the overall effect is exhilarating. Presented by Germinal Stage Denver through December 16, 2450 West 44th Avenue, 303-455-7108, www.germinalstage.com.
Greetings! The play begins with a fair amount of charm and humor, even if the basic plot is less than original: Andy Gorski has brought his girlfriend, Randi, to his Pittsburgh home to meet his very Catholic and conventional family — grumpy, alcoholic father Phil, anxious and unhappy mother Emily, and mentally challenged younger brother Mickey. Think Meet the Parents crossed with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and throw in a dash of Archie and Edith Bunker. But even if the characters aren't fully fleshed out and the jokes are a bit thin, the acting is strong, and the first act flies by. The affectionate interplay between Andy and the brother for whom he's saved his airline package of honey-roasted nuts and with whom he wrestles uninhibitedly on the floor is appealing, and Phil's constant growling irritation, his endless battles with the house's electricity, are pretty funny. But then the angelic being shows up — and, unhappily, he's a complete bore, provider of minor and meaningless miracles, utterer of the kind of advice about life you'd expect to find in a Hallmark card. He helps Randi make peace with the death of her little sister and explains to Emily that changing your life is as simple as changing your actions day by day. Taken as a whole, though, and perhaps with an eggnog or two to help it along, this is a pleasant holiday offering. Presented by Miners Alley through December 23, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, 303-935-3044, www.minersalley.com.
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