More Tune Than Show

The World Goes 'Round offers up great songs in a lackluster production

From left: Patrick Amos, Jenn Tusa, Sergio Antonio Garcia and Jamey Cheek jump their way through a '70s sleazification of the Kander and Ebb catalog.
From left: Patrick Amos, Jenn Tusa, Sergio Antonio Garcia and Jamey Cheek jump their way through a '70s sleazification of the Kander and Ebb catalog.

Details

Through June 3; (214) 871-3300
Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., the Quadrangle

Speaking of musical references, Bitch Stole My Ruby Red Slippers teemed with them, largely because the Vulva gals have a fruitful love-hate relationship with the female teen pop stars whom they so cheerfully skewer in their show. "I want to change the face of pop!" frequently announces Dorothy Gale (Heather Smith) doing a spot-on teen-age Judy Garland impression to lend this Wizard of Oz riff even more comic heft. That movie about a Kansas girl who discovers she's more at home in a strange land of color and risk has been pillaged for all its countercultural implications; on a more surface level, the fact that Garland was a child famously used and overworked by the Hollywood studios makes you ponder the level of commitment asked of Christina, Britney, Lee Ann, Jessica and all the other blond minors currently propping up an industry. In Bitch, Dorothy Gale is a new hire at a corporate music label. Her tendency to spontaneously fall asleep during moments of duress leads to an elaborate dream where the Viva La Vulva collaborators rely on some too predictable carry-overs from the movie--Ashley Tin (Natalie Stanco) is a silvery workaholic who wants a brain, Leona (the skittishly comical Trista Wyly) wants courage, etc. They interact well together: Stanco as Ashley Tin, the mannequin who just wants a brain, does a canny impersonation of an adventurer who's smarter than she realizes, and after Smith as Dorothy retrieves the chunky high-heeled "slippers"-- discarded after J. Lo was crushed by a falling house--they take a golden road and finally confront both The Wizard and The Woman Behind the Wizard. That would be Madonna (April Gibson, in Music-era white cowboy hat). Because Madonna has lately been feted as both a feminist pioneer and a great artist--when, truthfully, she's an admirable businesswoman of extremely limited musical ability--it's refreshing to see her torn apart by red-nailed youngsters. She can offer no courage, no heart and no brains (OK, that one's debatable in this critique) to the weary travelers, who're reduced to--you guessed it--striking a pose to the tune of "Vogue." Bitch Stole My Ruby Red Slippers works because it never fails to take the girl-singer issues deadly serious and itself not a whit in that direction.

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