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The Monster Under My Bed Drank My Vodka
nytheatre.com review by Jaime Robert Carrillo
There’s a rather humorous sign that sits onstage at the beginning of The
Monster Under My Bed Drank My Vodka. It’s two different photographs side by
side, with one labeled “Good Boyfriend” and the other photo “Bad Boyfriend.”
It’s funny because it’s the same man in each picture.The Monster Under My Bed Drank My Vodka is a one-woman performance
written by and starring Lisa David Dean. It’s told in the fashion of stand-up
comedy. Dean plays herself and takes us through a light-hearted account of
rather traumatic hardships growing up in New York, such as: enduring her
parent’s divorce, her stubborn penchant for superstitious rituals, a habitual
eating disorder, her evident alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, an
engagement, a number of break-ups, and being uprooted to the West Coast. These
situations are anchored by the recurring comical theme of how she wishes to be a
bona fide witch because that way she would be able to control the misadventures.
The story is presented like a one-on-one conversation with the audience through
different characters, such as her eight-year-old cousin, and acting out
different scenes from her past, including revelations she has alone in her
bedroom. If you’re a fan of watching comediennes and/or of silliness, you’ll
enjoy the show.It’s a well-constructed piece in terms of the order of the scenes, and how
one misadventure leads to another. We’re never lost at any point, the material
is easy to empathize with, and Dean draws in the laughs. She’s comfortable on
stage, even when she reveals information that many of us would consider private.
At one point, she likens an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to being like a dance
club; another time, she describes the tricky affair of breaking up with an
acting teacher, and then attacks the “Bad Boyfriend” photo. Dean pulls off a
presentable narrative of silly adventures, despite their serious nature.When she portrays herself, Dean’s acting tends to presentational, if peppy.
In contrast, her characterization of her sweetheart of a cousin, who appears
throughout Lisa’s crises and demonstrates convincing concern while still
remaining funny, proves that Dean can balance conveying believable emotions
along with her comedy. Perhaps she and her director Anthony Rich can capitalize
on this in future iterations of The Monster Under My Bed Drank My Vodka.
August 15, 2005