Roundabout Theatre Company
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director
Harold Wolpert, Managing Director
Julia C. Levy, Executive Director
(Wishful Drinking Website)
Created and Performed by Carrie Fisher
254 West 54th Street
Directed by Tony Taccone
Scenic, Lighting, Projection Design: Alexander V. Nichols
Production Stage Manager: Daniel J. Kells
Associate Producer: Garret Edington
Technical Supervisor: Steve Beers
General Manager: Sydney Beers
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Director of Marketing & Sales: David B. Steffen
Founding Director: Gene Feist
Associate Artistic Director: Scott Ellis
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 10, 2009
Carrie Fisher is one dynamic, driven performer, with never ending, hilarious, propulsive, iconic stories that make each viewer identify in some way with her roller-coaster life. Ms. Fisher, daughter of Debby Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, the Eddie Fisher who left home to console Elizabeth Taylor on the death of her husband, Mike Todd, and never returned, is also known as Princess Leia, of “Star Wars” trilogy fame. So, there's a people board, with faces and diagrams of all the people in Ms. Fisher’s life, and she stands proudly connecting the lines between those that had affairs, those that married, those that divorced (almost all of those that married), and then those that married and divorced again and again. On one side of the board is Carrie Fisher’s family, and on the other side of the board is Elizabeth Taylor’s family. We soon learn that Ms. Fisher’s daughter is now dating Ms. Taylor’s grandson, to bring Ms. Fisher’s memory board full circle. The show’s props are priceless, like the Princess Leia wigs, Pez dispensers, a life-size Princess Leia figure and dolls, and effervescent party effects.
In fact, Wishful Drinking is like one huge party, with confetti, colors, lewd jokes, family secrets, unleashed scandals (like Eddie Fisher’s current lifestyle), and audience participation. One member of the audience was asked to guess about the end result of one of the family’s marriages, and then she was called on by name over and over again. Another member of the audience was brought onstage to don one of the Princess Leia wigs and passionately attack the Princess Leia life-size figure. But, this was more of a woman’s party, with Ms. Fisher asking the men why they were there. There were tales about men’s humble sexuality, a story about waking up with a dead gay male friend, a tale about Paul Simon’s (Ms. Fisher’s ex-husband) record on breaking up with her (for another woman), playing on the radio years later, a tale about Ms. Fisher’s next husband leaving her for a man, and so on. Ms. Fisher did not shy away from her bipolar disorder and even had the audience show hands if they experienced some of the same mental symptoms. Most did.
Debby Reynolds, Ms. Fisher’s ever youthful mother, is larger than life in this show, always in the monologue; moreover, Ms. Reynolds now lives next door to Ms. Fisher in California, and Ms. Fisher does numerous send-ups, channeling her mother’s renowned personality. The send-ups of Eddie Fisher are far less kind. After the two-act show, Ms. Fisher has an audience talk-back, delving even deeper into her stories and secrets. I commend Carrie Fisher for this unique, relaxing (Ms. Fisher's in a robe and black silk pajamas), girl-talk party, a truly memorable matinee. Catch this show soon, if you need a lift.
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