Let’s make some things clear at the outset. In All-Nude College-Girl Revue, nobody is nude. Nobody is in college. Nor is it a revue. It is instead the life story, more or less, of Lisa Faith Phillips, played out over fifty minutes at the Fort Fringe Shop.
With raw voice and hesitant delivery, Phillips describes incidents from her bad-girl past. (One of her solo shows is How to Be a Bad Girl.) She had a couple of minor arrests; she took heroin a few times; she worked as a stripper to help finance her graduate studies in the London School of Economics. It is surprising how dull these experiences seem to be. Perhaps it is much less interesting to do them than I imagined.
She talks about her childhood at some length. She describes the early-60’s cool ethos with uncanny precision; except for their professions (her father was a lawyer; her mother a homemaker) her parents could have stepped from the “Mad Men” stage.
We get that her mother was a bigot and her dad a sexist who wouldn’t let her have as much money for college as he gave to her brothers because she was a female and he expected her to get married instead.
And she notes that during the glory days of the sexual revolution, she was compelled to go to a woman-only college. Still, it is hard to work up much sympathy for someone was able to go to Wellesley and the London School of Economics, spend her Junior Year in France, and obtain a job as a vice-president in the publishing industry after graduation.
Phillips has been at the Fringe before, with her 7 ½ Habits of Highly Effective Mistresses. She tells us that subsequent to that, the publishers of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” sued her for copyright infringement, and that she entered a settlement which permits her to refer to the show only in the context of the lawsuit. As I am not a party to that settlement, here is Steve McKnight’s review of that show.
Phillips rambles through her stories without making a single insightful or original observation. Even her metaphors are conventional – except when they make no sense, as in the time she compares the veins in her body (revealed in fluorescent light preparatory to her first exercise in stripping) to a “glowing road map.” I have read many road maps in my life, and none of them glowed; if her veins glowed, she should have followed up with her physician.
Phillips puts these stories in the context of her alternate title: “Why I Can’t Pass the Vetting”. She wanted to join the administration of Barak Obama, she explains, whom she greatly admires. But she is certain that the many colorful incidents from her past would prevent her from serving.
I do not know whether her life would disqualify her for a position in the Obama Administration. But her description of it would disqualify me from paying cash money to see her show.
All-Nude College Girl Revue has 5 shows, ending July 22, 2012, at The Shop at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC.
Details and tickets