note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Carl A. Rossi
Margaret Ann Brady
I caught the final performance of THE MRS. POTATOHEAD SHOW at the Boston Center for the Arts; was it the rain, the late hour or public timidity/indifference that resulted in the Black Box being not even half full? Whatever the reason, these zany gals deserve to become better known --- or, to continue the spud imagery, be covered in gravy.
Margaret Ann Brady, Dorothy Dwyer and “musical magician” Lucy Holstedt are the Potatoheads (should a Circes ever change them to animal form, the audience would witness, respectively, a Rottweiler, a bear and a flamingo going through their paces). Given the show’s title and Mss. Brady and Dwyer’s opening duologue, I assumed THE MRS. POTATOHEAD SHOW would be the world as seen through their “Irish-American-Woman-Being”; instead, their songs and sketches boiled down to Woman-Being in general and their irreverent humor didn’t stray too far from their bodies. I grew up with four rowdy sisters and thus am used to women’s bawdiness, so while others guffawed or gasped over such sketches as “The Cunt Show, with The Twat Twins Clit and Snatch”, I smiled for the most part; much of it was like going home to me (Woman-Heart or Woman-Anger is more to my liking).
Of the three, Ms. Brady, who stops the show in SpeakEasy’s RUTHLESS! THE MUSICAL, displays the greatest range and drops enough hints that she would make an impressive dramatic actress; her affecting portrayal of a (male) barfly glowing in the assumed wealth of a lottery ticket was a finely shaded study in tragicomedy (a sketch suddenly becoming a one-man play); in Edwardian days, Ms. Brady would have been a Lady Macbeth or Volumnia for the ages (and could still be). Ms. Dwyer is more comical, more vaudevillian, with her droll yet incisive delivery so reminiscent of Art Carney’s off-kilter persona; her Original Hooters Girl, several blowsy decades later, would be a comic gem if the sketch didn’t run out of gas so quickly. My few barks of laughter, however, went to Ms. Holstedt for her parody of a prim librarian playing a “hot” rendition of “Strangers in the Night”; later in the show, Ms. Holstedt was marvelous at miming the five-second memory of a goldfish forever circling in its bowl; as any comic will tell you, repetition is part of Comedy’s bag of tricks --- watching Ms. Holstedt performing the same actions over and over and continue to reap laughs was a moment to treasure.
This was my first, but will not be my last, encounter with the Potatoheads; I trust I’ve seen only the tit, uh, tip of the iceberg.