Saturday, August 25, 2007

Review – Sodomy & Pedicures (Jeanne d’Ork Productions and the New York International Fringe Festival)

Stage Buzz Review by Byrne Harrison

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of one-person, autobiographical theatre. I find that a great deal of it is self-indulgent and better suited for a psychologist’s office than for the stage. That being said, I was surprised to find myself amused and delighted by Jessica Hedrick’s Sodomy & Pedicures, playing as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.

Raised to be a feminist by an Irish-Catholic women’s studies professor and a blue collar Communist, but stuck in a Cosmo-loving world, it is no wonder that Hedrick has issues with sex. When she meets an Italian Lothario who wants to dominate her, not to mention explore a little anal loving, all her ideals about equality and feminism fly out the door as she finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. As she tries to understand these feelings, she explores her views on life, love, and sexual politics, all the while turning to her friends and family for their advice and input. While Hedrick’s tale is amusing, it is her performance that really seals the deal. She is a funny and engaging storyteller, a marvelous mimic, and remarkably unselfconscious given the material.

Director Julia M. Smith proves herself particularly skilled in allowing the comic scenes to build slowly - never forcing the humor, but never letting it get too slow. Hedrick’s scene in which she discusses an intimate use for a peacock feather is an excellent example of this. In addition, Smith makes very good use of the small stage. Where many one-person shows tend to take a static ’stand and speak’ approach, Smith avoids this while keeping all the movement natural.

In Sodomy & Pedicures, Hedrick does a marvelous job in telling her story and in making the audience care about her. By the end of the show, it’s easy to imagine that you were just spending the evening with a very good, very funny friend, instead of watching a piece of theatre.

Written and Performed by Jessica Hedrick
Directed by Julia M. Smith
Production Stage Manager: Rebecca Nell Robertson

The Players Loft
115 MacDougal Street

Closed: Saturday August 25th