Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood, a tale of two girls off to fame and fortune via burlesque, sounds like an amusing evening’s romp on paper, but up close, that paper’s pretty thin. Though originally slated to appear in Fringe 2014, this show has the appearance of everyone having woken up three days before the Fringe, and, realizing the date, hastily cobbled it together on the way to the theater.
It’s too bad, for a show about two sleazy hat shop girls on a road trip to a burlesque competition could be such fun. But every gag is stale, every joke overwritten to the point of losing interest, and wit becomes witlessness in this poorly written and poorly directed show. Characters are for the most part directed to stand in a line, with most actors openly glancing at the audience to gauge how they are doing. Not well, sad to say.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t some talent on stage, though it was shamelessly squandered by director Alycya Miller. As Brownie, Lee Miller does her best to make sense of some of the scenes, and she has good pipes, though the songbook by Alycya Miller is non-toe-tapping to say the least. It’s not helped by the recorded accompaniment, which sounds as though it was made by someone playing a 1990s era Casio keyboard- thin, reedy, and inexpensive.
Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood
Written and directed by Alycya Miller
Details and tickets
As Lolli, Grace Cannon has a decent turn as a dimwitted party girl to Miller’s more savvy Brownie, though she, too, hadn’t much to work with.
Choreography (no choreographer given) looked improvised the night I went. Costumes (no costumer given) looked for all the world as though everyone was on their own to scrounge vaguely naughty items; the set was likewise lackluster, consisting mostly of one wheelchair and some tables. Burlesque, at its heart, is all about the visual, and there just wasn’t much to see onstage.
The last song of the show, undoubtedly meant to be its finale, just sort of petered out. The result was considerable confusion in the house as to whether or not the show was actually over. After a few moments of silence, the actors, realizing this, came tentatively out onstage to wave thank you and let the audience know they were done. Gee.
This had such promise- who doesn’t like a good giggle-and-fart show about burlesque? But there’s one secret that burlesque has known for a long time, and which should be employed should you go to see this show:
For some things you need an open bar.
Brownie and Lolli Go To Hollywood . Written and directed by Alycya Miller . Composer: Darlyne Cain and Alycya Miller . Cast: Lee Miller as Brownie, Grace Cannon as Lolli, Annie Leonard as Valentine; Robbie Watters as Everyman; other actors unbilled Produced by Two Drunk Nuns Productions . Reviewed by Jill Kyle-Keith.