CONCEALING JUDY HOLLIDAY – MAY 4, 2012
“It’s a tragedy with comic elements.” responds July Holliday (playwright Wendy Johnson) when second husband Gery Mulligan asks, “What’s your story?” The description is equally apt for this memory play about the Oscar-winning comedic actress that has Holliday bedridden with cancer, reliving her life in fits and starts. Her hallucinations, emceed by Tallulah Bankhead (a spunky Sarah Zinsser), include episodes from her professional career and more personal ones with her husbands, her lover and her mother, Helen Tuvin (Marilyn Fox, whose “pill-poppomg” scene is memorably funny). The cost compelling of the recollections, however, is the hearing run by Sen. Richard Arens (Kevin Quinn, who also plays Mulligan) to investigate Holliday’s potential communist leanings. Johnson, with her Lucille Ball looks and chirpy timbre, sounds just like Holliday and plays her with wide-eyed innocence. Director Guillermo Cienfuegos innovatively stages the action.
Pacific Resident Theatre, 705 1/2 Venice Blvd., Venice: Thurs – Sat. 8p.m…. Sunday.. 3 p.m.; thru May 27. (310) 822-8392, PacificResidentTheatre.com (Mayank Keshaviah)