Tuesday, March 15, 2011

review - Katie's Corner

Alexandra Billings improvises Katie Hepburn 3 Wednesdays in March - 16, 23 and 30 - @ the Celebration Theatre!

CRITIC'S PICK
Katie's Corner
directed by Sean Abley
created by Alexandra Billings & Heather Hopkins
Celebration Theatre
Wednesdays remaining: March 23 & 30

If you want to laugh your tush off, you cannot afford to miss Alexandra Billings as Katie Hepburn @ the Celebration Theatre. This silly 70-minute piece Katie's Corner is a loosely structured improv where an older Kate Hepburn gets about as demented as one could imagine, saying and doing any f----n' thing she wants. After all, she is a 4-time Oscar winner for Best Actress, the only 4-time winner ...and a legend too, at least in her own mind!

Heather Hopkins asks audience members to write out questions upfront which Kate attempts to answer when she appears. She comes in late, sarcastically appraises the set and starts cookin'. That's Hepburn lingo for working and getting good audience response, and that she does. She cartwheels across the stage, climbs a fake tree and shimmies down in tomboy fashion, talks ridiculously about films she never did and some she did do like The Lion in Winter and On Golden Pond with a comic change in titles that I won't spoil for you. You have to go, go, go and hear it live! Of course, Kate had some delightfully tasteless jokes at people's expense like Zsa Zsa and her current condition. That's good old Katie for you! There are even guest stars. On the 16th Drew Droege made a campy appearance as actress Chloe Sevigny who with her deadpan,drugged-out self-proclaimed sense of high couture dressed Kate and Heather for an event, in a uniquely hilarious, rather embarrassing fashion. 

What one can do with rags! Then there was Dean Ricca who taught Kate how to make animals out of towels, a hobby he picked up on cruise ships. Mmmm! Kate had a field day with this, as she played along fiercely, commenting "Dean, what do you do? You have a lot of free time, don't you?" They made an elephant and a cute dog; it was a fun, fun segment, sort of like The Martha Stewart Show. Imagine how Hepburn would have manipulated her, had they ever gotten together! The surprise of the evening was Michael A. Shepperd as Pearlie Mae Bailey, who came in to talk about and sing Hello Dolly! His chic outer coat, sleek black pants suit and red pumps made Katie's eyes about jump from their sockets in disbelief. Bailey never looked so sexy! Director Abley and Heather Hopkins stood by and drew questions for Kate to answer and there were even door prizes-Katie's Corner memorabilia-for those selected. One asked simply "Why?" to which Hepburn responded in typical know-it-all flair "Why NOT?"

The evening, with fine pacing from director Sean Abley, ended with the cast assembling for a ghost story on the dark 'ambiancey' set, but the story sort of petered out into a let's end this damn.foolish.thing finale. I wanted a song from Kate from Coco or one from Pearl Bailey, but alas, I'll just have to return in two weeks when Bette Davis is set to appear. Now that should be a hoot with the two legends sharing the same stage.
What frantic, frenetic possibilities!!
Katie's Corner is an evening of fun, fun, fun, no matter what you go in expecting. Alexandra Billings is a masterful actress and her sustained speech patterns and overall demeanor as the aging Hepburn are deliciously & devilishly perfect.
5 out of 5 stars

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