by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
“We can’t all be skinny, but we can always be Gorgeous.”
Amid laborious and manifold scene transitions, sweat inducing, furniture maneuvers, and slightly fatigue-producing actor direction, writer Beth Polsky has quite contrarily written a superbly funny and empathetic show for the world premiere of her new comedy, Gorgeous.
Gorgeous embraces the ideal of finding love exactly where it should be through an autobiographical romp in a world of sausage pizza, psychiatric mediums and nocent hyperfemininity.
Izzy has a problem, and it’s not the temptation of Ding-Dongs or her passive-aggressive therapist or the fact that her mother continues to micromanage her eating habits and fashion choices…even after she’s dead. Figuring out what is really missing in her life, is the denial she keeps swallowing down with each overdosing, pound-packing snack. Izzy’s in trouble. The question is, will she allow herself to be helped.
Polsky’s Gorgeous, is the very real struggle of defining who she is on her own terms – through a vulnerable Izzy. Being Izzy is tough in the extreme as the chronically, disappointing, unfashionable, child for a vocal Saks Fifth Ave mother. Breaking the chain of emotional binging is one hard knocks episode after the next.
Indeed, the production at The Actors Company LA, runs very much like a LIVE studio audience late night soap opera, brimming with TV sitcom-structured actor deliveries that routinely amp up the comedic gags, but which tend to deplete the emotional intimacy and impact from what is really being meritoriously featured here.
On the surface Polsky is attempting to bring to light damaging societal hypocrisies about femininity and beauty. At it’s core Gorgeous addresses people on the most essential level and the relationships and walls and “stuff” they surround themselves with in order to not have to address the most basic of issues of love, self-esteem, and self-acceptance.
Gorgeous is a compelling play that with some directional tweaking might better serve Polsky’s important voice in a world that very much needs it. There are some lovely and quite humorous surprises in every character’s journey and the “feel good” ending puts the story just in the right place to land its message, that we all, in our own special way, are “gorgeous.”
Featuring: Thomas W. Ashworth, Jocelyn Hall, Di Koob, De Ann Odom and Stella Valente.