Don't Miss Last Weekend for ACT I's Sordid Lives, Says Martin Brady



Online at, Martin Brady delivers a rave for ACT I's Sordid Lives, playing through Saturday night at the Darkhorse Theatre:

Though it certainly qualifies as a redneck comedy, Del Shores' Sordid Lives operates on a much higher plane than most plays in the genre. Yes, Shores exploits the standard stereotypes, but his characters are conceived with genuine wit, and more significantly, nuance, a commodity in short supply in most trailer-trash theater. Shores' cast of colorful Southerners — Texans, to be precise — may fuss and fight at pretty high decibel levels (and with questionable grammar), but they express their feelings and settle their differences with warmth and heart, thanks to the playwright's smart craftsmanship. And Shores' focus on the kinds of issues "good" Baptists don't like to think about — homosexuality and cross-dressing and adultery (and Valium and AIDS and ...) — places his lovably dysfunctional yet family-centric loonies into a compelling dramatic forum.

The new ACT 1 production of Sordid Lives is the first local staging — a touring version came to TPAC some years back — and director Dave McGinnis has gathered a superb, eclectic cast of 14 that is firing on all cylinders for the entire performance. Who knew that veteran stage manager and longtime community theater director Melissa Williams was such a gifted actress? As Sissy Hickey, sister to recently deceased matriarch Peggy Ingram, Williams lives the role — she's warm, ironic, combative when she needs to be, and she does it all in a comically charming drawl. Holly Butler is also great as the fretting daughter Latrell, who is shocked by the late Peggy's bizarre demise — in flagrante delicto — and still mourning the realization that her son, Ty, a New York soap opera actor, is gay. For pure down-home gun-toting feistiness, we get Joy Tilley Perryman and Pamela Youngblood Jasper, plus Tammy Sutherland as Juanita Bartlett, in one of the strangest and most enjoyable cameos this side of the Jack Daniel's distillery. ...

Ticket info and showtimes here.

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