Pillar’s got a problem, and so does her Mama—she weighs a metric ton. Fortunately for Pillar, really named Karen, kleptomania is easier to hide than morbid obesity.
LapBand Texas is, well, stereotypical Texan. Having close ties to that state, I feel ok saying it. And I feel ok laughing about it—the overabundance of gemstones, high heels, Big Gulps, and trash cluttering Mama Doucette’s house as her daughter, Karen, tries to prep a Thanksgiving Dinner that will include a ham, a turkey, and 4 dozen tamales.
But dinner never gets served. Instead, Karen (Laura Westman), and her older sister, Cassie (Maggie Dempsey), rush their Mama to the hospital for chest pains, and, over the next few days, find themselves dealing with their own personal heartburn.
Cassie—poor and tied down with a house and girls of her own— is getting divorced and starting to overstuff her face to deal. Thin, successful and unfulfilled, Karen’s cravings for something more lead her to overindulge in a bad habit while in pursuit of a perfection not attained through diets, exercise and every day restraint.
Billed as a Bawdy comedy, LapBand Texas delivers on laughs. But it also has a lot of heart.
The characters feel very real, as the actors hit just the right nerves while depicting the complicated relationship between sisters and the baggage mothers leave their daughters to carry. In particular, Karen’s flirtation with a free-spirited fisherman named Traveler (Patrick Murray)—opposite from her in every way but just as weirdly obsessive—is palpable.
At times, line delivery seems a bit stilted, and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a character tic or indication that someone’s forgotten their words. But the actors are wholly invested in the world they’ve created despite the potential flubs. And that full investment shines as Mama (Michael Brassfield) contemplates life and lap band surgery during a dream sequence in which Mama Cass (The Mamas and the Papas) and Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters) turn up to champion opposite choices: rollin’ in life’s love juice or sippin’ nothing but water.
In short, over-indulge or under-indulge? In life. In love. In food. In freedom. In family. You decide where and when, and which is worse, but redemption exists for everyone. At least according to LapBand Texas.
Smart, sharp, funny and heartfelt: for anyone who’s ever felt weighed down in life. Especially the mothers, daughters, wives and sisters of the world.
With only 3 performances, the LapBand Texas schedule is a bit tight. It ends July 21, 2012 at Warehouse, 645 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC.
Kelly rates this 4 out of a possible 5.