Printer Friendly

ADDICTION, HUMOR DON'T MIX ALL THAT WELL IN `DRINKING'.

Byline: Evan Henerson Theater Critic

Carrie Fisher would probably be a blast to have seated next to you at a small dinner party. Daughter of Hollywood royalty, she wore cinnamon buns on both sides of her head and became a science-fiction icon. Past tabloid catnip, skilled novelist and a funny lady, too. The stories she could divulge, right?

We're just speculating here. Perhaps Fisher never says an unguarded word at dinner parties. Maybe she saves her best yarns for her books, autobiographies and TV appearances.

She certainly hasn't saved it for the stage. ``Wishful Drinking,'' the 50-year-old actress/

comedian's new solo act at the Geffen Playhouse, is a half-dishy, randomly funny peek behind the tabloids by a lady whose reasons for spilling -- confession? revelation? revenge? -- seem arbitrary.

Were we to read the accounts of ``Wishful Drinking'' in paperback on the beach or spun out in the New Yorker, the experience might constitute good trashy fun. On stage, not so much. Fisher shows an affinity for witty looks and arch quips, but she's not the least bit at ease as a showperson. On more than one occasion during ``Drinking's'' 100 minutes, I considered who might tell Carrie Fisher's story more effectively than Carrie Fisher -- and came up with a decent list.

Part of the problem here is the ballyhoo that accompanies any name actor's solo vehicle (Julia Sweeney, a very good monologuist, has called them ``look at me, look at me!''). ``Wishful Drinking'' was originally scheduled to play the Geffen's smaller Audrey Skirball Kenis Theatre. Fisher being who she is, and audience interest being considerable, the play was transferred to the Geffen's mainstage.

That was probably a mistake. Instead of any pretense toward intimacy, which the Kenis venue might have helped engender, the production, crafted by writer Fisher and director Joshua Ravetch, feels unnecessarily puffed out. There are multimedia projections, including film clips and plenty of Fisher's choicest tabloid headlines. A ridiculous-looking tree with dangling tiles sits distractingly downstage. And poor Gerald Sternbach -- Reprise's ace music director -- is stuck at the piano all night with practically nothing to do.

Then there's Fisher. Yes, she's got plenty of archness and a lifetime's worth of targets toward which she can sling it. Her womanizing father, Eddie Fisher (and his penchant for Asian women), receives the bulk of the zingers. She's easier on her mom, Debbie Reynolds, and except for a few good-natured height jokes, ex-hubby Paul Simon is largely untouched.

You wonder by what criteria Fisher assembled her targets, and which cows she deemed too sacred to slaughter. Why, for example, does Fisher delight in dropping the anecdote about Warren Beatty offering -- in jest, she says -- to deflower her while making ``Shampoo,'' but leave unnamed the ``Marlboro Man'' (presumably Harrison Ford) with whom she dallied during the making of ``Star Wars''?

Fisher's primary target is, of course, herself and her own colorful history. Her take on her own addiction and manic depression are handled with utter wryness and not a hint of anything more jagged lurking beneath the surface.

So the father of her child told Fisher that her codeine habit drove him into the arms of another man. ``I never read that on the (prescription) label,'' retorts Fisher.

Quite visible at the back of the Geffen is a TelePrompTer, which Fisher -- when not addressing individual audience members -- was following opening night. Having her lines available may be a crutch, an unneeded security blanket or a combination. Regardless, Fisher needs to bring the same off-

the-cuff comfort level to her act that she professes to have with her life. Maybe a little joy, too. Until either appears, ``Wishful Drinking'' will be little more than a bit of tabloidism itself. Except this time, you can trust the source.

Evan Henerson, (818) 713-3651

evan.henerson@dailynews.com

WISHFUL DRINKING - Two stars

Where: Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave. Westwood.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday; through Dec. 23.

Tickets: $35 to $69. (310) 208-5454.

In a nutshell: She's funnier on the page.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Carrie Fisher charts all the messy complications of growing up as the daughter of celebrities Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher in the one-woman show ``Wishful Drinking.''
COPYRIGHT 2006 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 17, 2006
Words:716
Previous Article:RECUTTING SLITS HISTORY.
Next Article:BACK-TO-BASICS BOND IS YOUNGER, HUNGRIER 007.
Topics:


Related Articles
Confessions of a leftwing comic.
WHEN ADDICTION SETS THE PACE.
VIDEO : DRINKING THEIR WAY TO OSCAR RIVALRY.
Rounders.
Drunk the Night Before.
A most amusing man: Stephen McCauley talks about his newest novel, Alternatives to Sex--all about a nice gay guy who can't keep his cursor out of...
Substance abuse, addiction & women.
HBO EXPLORES ADDICTION.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters