There aren’t too many celebrities with the pedigree that Carrie Fisher has that are candid enough and funny enough and ballsy enough to open up about their bouts with divorce, alcoholism, drugs and rehab, their career, death and the beyond and in this case her very extended famous family and share their experiences on stage for all to see and hear.
In her extremely amusing and wonderful autobiographical memoir of a show, “Wishful Drinking” – that has just opened at Studio 54, Carrie Fisher does just that. In her almost two and a half hours onstage, barefoot and in lounging pajamas with lots of glitter around her eyes that make her sparkle – as if her sparkling wit weren’t enough – she showers audience members with glitter and gossip as she embarks on her tell-all journey of her Hollywood life on the rocks.
I am probably the only person in the world, no make that the universe, that has not seen Carrie Fisher in her most infamous film role – that of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. I know the name from its many appearances in crossword puzzles.
I do know who her very famous parents are. Still alive and kicking – Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher who left Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor. Bringing the younger members of the audience up to speed she compares them to the Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of their day. Some things never change.
She opens her show singing “Happy Days Are Here Again”. She might very well have chosen “I’m Still Here” from Follies. She is a survivor with a capital S – and we are very thankful that she is so that we can hear all about her very public tabloid existence.
I won’t give away any of her wild definitions or one-liners. You have to hear them straight from her. She has a wry sense of humor and terrific comic timing that will have you laughing throughout her impeccable performance which is fine tuned by director Tony Taccone. Aided by some nostalgic film clips and equally witty video projections by Alexander V. Nichols who is also responsible for the appropriate off kilter set and suggestive lighting. Her family tree lesson from her parents to her daughter and everyone in between can be likened to a California Redwood there are so many involved and intertwined. See how hard she pokes certain photos with her pointer.
Everyone warms up to Carrie Fisher immediately with her low key almost confessional style delivery. She has got the gift of gab and of putting words together and playing with them which is a delight to listen to. Not to mention the delicious dish. On Paul Simon, George Lucas and Liz and Eddie and how she is accused of turning men gay and making them bald. Enough said.
There are times when she tilts her head just so that you can see in her face the face of Debbie Reynolds – especially in the smile which is warm and welcoming. And at times she can be brutal and droll simultaneously
You might be even lucky enough to be chosen to join Carrie Fisher on stage with her life size Princess Leia sex doll. Don’t let that scare you off. It’s one of the highlights of an evening chock full of highlights. “Wishful Drinking” is a must see. Here’s to you, Carrie Fisher! To Life!
Limited engagement through January 3rd 2010 www.roundabouttheatre.org