The new season at the Desert Rose Playhouse is off to a flying start with its rollicking production of Charles Busch’s DIE MOMMIE DIE. It’s an over the top homage to the melodramas of the 1960’s starring actresses of a certain age like Lana Turner and Bette Davis.
Rob Rota is wonderfully slimy as the gigolo who is willing to sleep with anyone if it is to his benefit. Matt Allen’s Lance is a total mess of neuroses and long suppressed anger and an overly healthy sex drive. Melanie Blue gets laugh after laugh as the ultimate Daddy’s girl as she tries to maneuver her brother to help her avenge her father’s death. As Bootsie, Lorraine Williamson comes into her own in the
second act as she delivers her big secret which turns out to be only one of many in this crazy brood. Sol Sussman, as played by David Brendel is the very essence of the sexist and power wielding producer from Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” But its Loren Freeman’s brilliant turn as Angela that pushes the show up and over the top. He possesses a gift of perfect comedic timing and lands every laugh. It is a total pleasure watching this talented Female Impersonator (note that I did not say Drag Queen) in the mold of Charles Pierce and Charles Busch, go to town with the role of Angela Arden. I bet if you look closely, there are teeth marks all over the set and I for one am grateful for each and every one of them.
If you’re not familiar with the works of Charles Busch, this is an excellent chance to sample his work as a gifted playwright (he was the Tony nominated author of “THE TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE”). You can also feel the passion and adoration that he has for the movies and the stars of a now long-gone Hollywood, even as he is making us laugh at the extremes those films often embraced.
DIE MOMMIE DIE is now playing at the Desert Rose Playhouse through October 27. For tickets or further information go to www.desertroseplayhouse.org or call the box office at 760-202-3000.