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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at Studio 54


  Carrie Fisher/ Ph: Joan Marcus

"There is no underwear in space." So said George Lucas to a 19-year-old Carrie Fisher, attempting to explain why she could not wear a bra under her white Princess Leia dress. Supposedly, in space, the body would expand but not the bra, causing one to get strangled by the apparatus.
"I promise you he said this and he said it with such conviction like he had actually been to space and looked around and didn't see any bras or panties or briefs," she said.
Wishful Drinking, Fisher's dishy and sassy one-woman memoir, doesn't suffer from a lack of source material. Her many targets include the sex lives of her parents Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (described as the Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston of their day), a marriage to Paul Simon, drug addiction, bipolar disorder, depression, and Princess Leia fame.
Fisher is particularly harsh on her father, describing how he "consoled" Elizabeth Taylor following the death of her husband (Michael Todd)  "with his penis," is now attempting to date all of "Chinatown," and that he is addicted to pot and even brought his dealer to an earlier performance of her show.
She opens the show with an ironic rendition of the Streisand anthem "Happy Days Are Here Again." Then, in graphic detail, she describes waking up next to her gay Republican friend who happened to be dead. She invites audience members to ask her questions regarding the incident, such as how she knew he was dead and how he looked at the time.
This is not so much a play, but a strange cross-section of therapy, stand-up comedy, and a tabloid exposing celeb culture of the late 20th century. In "Hollywood Incest 101," for instance, Fisher uses an illustrated chart to explain how her daughter and Elizabeth Taylor's grandson are "related by scandal."
So far as Star Wars is concerned, Fisher plays show-and-tell with a Princess Leia wig, doll, Pez dispenser, shampoo, soap, and life-size sex doll. To satisfy the cravings of every Star Wars fan in the theater, she delivers her infamous "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope" speech to an R2-D2 doll as an Act Two finale.
Though the show belongs in a more intimate theater, Fisher and Studio 54 are both fondly remembered as 1970's sex icons. Its two-and-a-half-hour running time could also be trimmed, perhaps by removing some of the more disturbing details of her mental maladies in Act Two. In other words, she could really use an editor.
But on the whole, Fisher deserves much credit for her extreme honesty and good humor (i.e. likening her current physical appearance to Elton John). She's laughing at herself, but the audience is definitely laughing with her.


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