Die, Mommie, Die! is a terrible play. Writer Charles Busch intends it as a tribute to, and parody of, the OTT melodramas that always seem to feature Bette Davis. He neglects, however, to provide a coherent storyline or anything approaching memorable or amusing dialogue.
That Vertigo Theatre’s production of the play is entertaining is attributable entirely to the talents and efforts of the director Craig Hepworth and his cast. Thankfully, Hepworth understands the genre and treats its features with affection. Plot developments are underlined by dramatic musical cues and the cast striking stiff and ironic poses. All gestures are flamboyant and dialogue is delivered at MAXIMUM VOLUME.
Considering that Busch wrote the role of Angela Arden for himself it is underdeveloped – a singer who never actually sings is a wasted opportunity. Dale Vicker throws himself into the part adding very funny vocal mannerisms and grotesque poses. He and Hepworth, designs the character’s striking 1960’s costumes.
The show is, however, stolen by Dave McLaughlin who somehow makes the disturbed character of Lance sympathetic, screamingly funny and deeply creepy.
The reputation of Die, Mommie, Die! is exaggerated but fortunately Vertigo manages to locate some humour in very thin material and the cast play it up with gusto.
- Dave Cunningham