The Glories of Gloria Revue
nytheatre.com review by James Comtois
October 21, 2007
It takes a tremendous amount of effort and skill to play awkward and clumsy, because either: a) moments of grace and flair can sneak in; or b) the performance can just end up being genuinely awkward (and therefore unpleasant to watch).
Fortunately, Canadian clown and Cirque du Soleil alum Mooky knows how to play awkward and clumsy (rather than just be awkward and clumsy), which she demonstrates in her very funny and energetic one-person show, The Glories of Gloria Revue, playing at the Brick's Clown Theatre Festival.
Mooky plays Gloria, an aspiring actress who wants to create a large spectacular revue. Unfortunately, she's the only one in this extravaganza, which means not only are there no large chorus line numbers, there are no stage hands to help, either.
No matter. Gloria will fake it for as long as she can, hoping that the audience won't notice that many of the acts are either puppets, prerecorded film performances, or herself in different wigs and costumes (posing as "special guests").
This is a funny, funny show that made me laugh a lot. Mooky is a very energetic and captivating performer who has the energy and stamina of a large ensemble cast and large backstage crew (to, of course, compensate for her lack of one).
Rather than just go through her multiple acts (which are all incredibly fun), let me just cite one specific portion that should give you a decent example of what type of show this is. There's one point in the performance where she needs Grampa to dance for us to buy her some time to change costumes ("Grampa" is in fact a short black & white film of an old man dancing projected on a screen).
The DVD player in her backstage area to show Grampa isn't working. She starts to berate Grampa for making her look bad, sounding genuinely scared and flustered. The DVD player still isn't working. It eventually skips to a bit with some dancing ponies. "NO, Ponies!" she yells. "Ponies, No! It's not your turn yet!"
Finally, Grampa plays. But she still needs more time. She tells Grampa to go on again. Of course, during all of this, the curtains in front of the video screen are still shut. Halfway through Grampa's encore "performance," we hear Gloria go, "Oh, have the curtains been shut the whole time? That's no good."
Now, is this an example of lightning-fast ad-libbing to cover a genuine technical snafu or all "just part of the show?" Either way, it doesn't matter: the day I went, neither the rest of the audience nor I could stop laughing.
There are definitely other funny scenes, sketches, and dances in The Glories of Gloria (another favorite bit of mine was an impromptu dramatic acting scene done with a member of the audience involving strategically placed tiny cue cards for her unwitting acting partner), but I think it may be best if people just go see the show and discover them on their own, and see just how funny calculated awkwardness is.