Monday, April 11, 2016

reviews - WONDERLAND WIVES - Nearly Naked Theatre

Terre Steed
photo: Laura Durant
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through April 23rd.

 " 'And they lived happily ever after' is a statement often made at the end of fairy tales and Disney animated films to proclaim just what happened to those fantasyland princesses who finally found their prince. But, according to playwright Buddy Thomas, it turns out that everyone doesn't live so happily ever after in Wonderland. His Wonderland Wives, receiving its world premiere in a sassy production from Nearly Naked Theatre, takes those well-known Disney princesses and turns them into desperate housewives in this very R-rated comedy. The end result is silly, campy fun with some delicious catty barbs, a talented cast, and a funny story. Thomas includes the following Disney princesses in his play: Snow White, Cinderella, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), and Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty)....The plot of the comedy focuses on Cindy's attempt to get back at her friends once her philandering husband ends up in bed with them. She enlists the aid of the Evil Queen from the Snow White tale to help her get revenge. But alas, as in most fairy tales, nothing goes the way one plans and Thomas' play is filled with enchanting characters and witty one-liners that play off of and lampoon these well-known characters and stories. While some of the comical bits overtake the plot in the second act, it is still a charming and often hilarious show....Director Damon Dering, with Thomas' permission, has cast three talented men who appear in drag as Cindy, Belle, and the Evil Queen. Those three, Matthew R. Harris, Bill Dyer and Terre Steed, are skilled comical actors who not only know how to get a laugh, but are gifted drag performers who understand the requirements needed to not just be campy or over the top, but deliver well-rounded portrayals of these women. With every arched eyebrow and expressive glance these "ladies" wring every joke, one liner, and catty comeback for all they're worth. They are equally matched by Nathalie Cadieux and Laura Anne as Snow and Rose....Dering's direction makes the many comical one-liners and visual gags pop while also getting humorous performances from his cast. ...Thomas' play, while a bit long and unfocused in the second act, amounts to mindless fun that elicits plenty of laughter via the comical zingers and humorous adult situations that he puts these beloved figures in. Nearly Naked Theatre's production is a comical hoot filled with some saucy lines and sexy moments and a truly talented cast."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Nearly Naked Theatre mounts the wacky “Wonderland Wives” that is nothing but silly inanities as it plays fast and loose with a familiar fairytale, ...complete with frustrated princesses who drink to cope with their bizarre environment that includes law breaking princes and a prince who lives with pigs.  Playwright (Buddy) Thomas bends and turns with merry zaniness the familiar story as he transforms normally upstanding characters to create chaotic silliness.  Thomas’ infectiously amusing alterations are presented by director Damon Dering with madcap impishness and with a cast that knows how to have fun with these peculiar characters and the ridiculous plot changes....Dering’s cast maintains frivolously inviting overplaying.  Nathalie Cadieux’s off-center Snow has unabashed joy as she shifts from hysterical overacting to steadfast seriousness.  ..Bill Dyer...has screwball fun with feet-on-the-ground Belle and Matthew Harris’ madcap Cindy that’s loaded with malarkey.  Terre Steed goes from light-hearted humor to dramatically amusing overacting to turn four crucial female roles to absurdity.  As the sole super-masculine male, David Nelson displays slithery sensuality as the Beast and Charming."
--Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

"Disney princesses get the “South Park” treatment in...“Wonderland Wives,”.an R-rated camp fest with several of the princesses played by male actors in drag, and it’s amusing enough, even if it feels a bit like a high-school skit gone wild in the absence of adult supervision. Bill Dyer is a hoot as the catty Belle, and Terre Steed makes a deliciously arch Evil Queen ...The pace could be a bit snappier...Disney princesses in drag deliver plenty of naughty laughs, but “Wonderland Wives” is neither original nor memorable."  - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

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