Confessions of a Dirty Blonde

Written by Billy VanZandt and Jane Milmore
Directed by Robert More
Performed by Paul Brown, Susie Burnett, Greg Campbell, Jonathan Ellul, Michael Lamport, Veronica Lange, Brian McKay, Sam Owen, Andy Pogson
Victoria Playhouse Petrolia
July 5 – July 23, 2005
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Dirty Blonde is a door-slamming farce

Doors slamming, people yelling, mistaken identities, misunderstood language, a tight deadline, men in dresses, and slightly naughty jokes – all the ingredients of a great farce are found in Confessions of a Dirty Blonde at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia. Add to this mix comedic actors the calibre of Paul Brown and you have one very funny show.

I can’t divulge a synopsis of the plot without spoiling the fun. The story is set in an upscale hotel in New York City in 1962, when an aging, but still sexy, film star decides to make a come-back.

Paul Brown, a master of the farce, plays the snobby hotel concierge Russell Brocade. This is Brown’s first appearance at VPP, but he is well-known at Huron Country Playhouse for his hilarious roles in farces, such as No Sex Please, We’re British and Move Over Mrs. Markham. Brown was the original Cogsworth in Toronto’s Beauty and the Beast. His comedic timing and oh-so-telling facial expressions are always spot on and he knows how to make the most of every joke.

Joining Brown is an excellent cast, all of whom contribute to the comedy. Michael Lamport is a Robin Williams clone as bell hop Joey Burrows. Like Robin Williams, he keeps the pace fast and handles the timing of his one-liners perfectly. Lamport will be remembered in Petrolia for his TV documentary Off Stage, about Petrolia Community Theatre.

Greg Campbell shows his many talents, seamlessly handling a triple role, one with a delightful Irish accent. Susie Burnett as Rita Lamour has outstanding facial expressions and hilarious body language. VPP favourite Brian McKay is uproarious as the chain-smoking, drunken doctor in boxer shorts, while Sam Owen offers an exceptional portrayal of the has-been singing star who finally gets his voice back. Andy Pogson gives a quality performance as the frustrated manager Chick Lipton, who tries to get everyone’s cooperation but is never able to pull it all together. Pogson will be remembered for his clever work in Thumbs at VPP last summer, when he played the bumbling sidekick with the New England accent.

Credit for the direction goes to VPP’s artistic director Robert More, and kudos to Ivan Brozic for creating a 5-star set.

While Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s story line simply follows that of the traditional farce, their use of language is clever. Whenever the words penis and pianist get mixed up, there are bound to be laughs. VPP’s production of Confessions of a Dirty Blonde is great summer fare, if you’re just looking for fun.

Confession of a Dirty Blonde continues with eight shows a week at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until July 23. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or (519) 882-1221 for tickets.


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