Saturday, January 25, 2014

Marga Gomez: "Lovebirds" ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

In a city of excellent solo performers, Marga Gomez stands apart. For one thing, she's been doing it a long time. Her characters and her stories always have a little more depth, her performance is more nuanced and she doesn't hold her audience's hand. In her new "Lovebirds," which we saw in its final Preview before Opening Night at the Marsh, she has sewed all her craft together into a touching tapestry which is also very, very funny.

The show revolves around Polaroid Philly, a lovable photographer who is still working with a Polaroid. She has been around the block a few times but her gift is the kindness she offers to all her customers. We see Philly at the opening, and at the end, and in between we meet Turkey, the manly lesbian who courts Barbara, the politically aware "brand new lesbian" who changes her name to "Dahlia." We meet Barbara/Dahlia's father Orestes, who runs a night club and has fallen in love with his dying-cat-voiced club singer Gladys, who only uses one name, just like Charro and Cher.  There are many other characters too, but our very favorite is Richard Richards, the professor who claims to only need 45 minutes of sleep a night. He is constantly yawning, and believe me, when he yawns, you will too. He is married to Gladys...well, the plot is convoluted and the characters many. 

There is even one character named Marga Gomez, who buys a lot of Cosmopolitans as she tries in vain to pick up Barbara/Dahlia. 

With all of it -- we come back to Polaroid Philly. She knows her polaroids are ancient technology, and that they will fade, as will all our memories. But, despite it all, you can always count on her to keep trying. 

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Lovebirds" Three Stars with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. Gomez gets a star for writing and performing, plus another for Richard Richards. The BANGLE of PRAISE is for Gladys's version of "Besame Mucho," though if she had played it a little louder we may have expired with laughter. If we could give an extra Bangle, it would be for the way Turkey does the Hustle.

Marga Gomez "Lovebirds"
The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Thu-Sat through March 15
$15-$35 sliding scale.

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