At this point, theatrical works about gay men and their over-the-top, overbearing mothers practically comprise an entire genre unto themselves—think Torch Song Trilogy and Mothers and Sons, just to name two. You can now add to that list Jamie Brickhouse’s one-man show, Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex & My Mother—an alcohol-soaked romp to rock bottom and the story of how a mother’s outsized love helped to bring one man back from the brink.
Based on his 2015 memoir of the same name, Dangerous When Wet tracks Brickhouse’s life from his childhood in Beaumont, Texas, to his suicide attempt and eventual recovery in New York City. Brickhouse, an award-winning storyteller, holds the audience in his thrall the entire time, making perfect use of the tiny Gold venue inside St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. He also employs projections, the Peggy Lee song “Is That All There Is?”, and a series of fabulous blazers to supplement his story.
His costar, as you may have guessed, is the matriarch of the family, the fabulous Mama Jean. She was the quintessential Texas diva—all big hair, furs, tiaras, high-power jobs, and eminently quotable one-liners. The lessons Mama Jean imparts to young Jamie stay with him throughout his life, even when he’s far away from home. We journey with him from first grade, when his teacher warned him about being a sissy, to his teenage years and losing his virginity in Acapulco, to New York, where he descends into alcoholism and anonymous, unprotected sex.
Dangerous When Wet
closes July 24, 2018
Details and tickets
Brickhouse’s style is instantly recognizable, especially to gay men of a certain age—campy, infused with references to icons like Joan Crawford, and tinged with a melancholy that can only come from surviving the AIDS crisis. While the content of Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex & My Mother contains many familiar elements, Brickhouse’s flamboyant style and often-hilarious quips make listening to his tales feel more like spending an afternoon with a good friend—which is a pretty fabulous way to spend your time at Capital Fringe.
Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex & My Mother written and performed by Jamie Brickhouse. Directed by David Drake. All things tech: Elliot Lanes. Produced by Jamie Brickhouse. Reviewed by John Bavoso.