By February 13, 2019 0 Comments Read More →

​Review: “Julia Sweeney Older & Wider” Geffen Playhouse

You may or may not remember Julia Sweeney from her days as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1994. The actress, author, housemom is back in Hollywood after a long hiatus from LA LA Land. Where did she go? Well, if you attend her one-woman show you will find out – and a lot more. Sometimes “too much information” can be a good thing, and in this case, it is the basis of her provocative material which is very good and very funny. Ms. Sweeney is a polished performer. Her skills as a comedian/stand-up are unquestionable. She doesn’t miss a beat – her delivery is right on the mark, making you laugh at her, and yourself at times. What I found remarkable was the amount of content she consumed and recited. Not an easy task. I had the feeling she could go on for hours.

She begins with a humorous recitation on becoming a single-mom to an adopted Chinese daughter, Mulan. A well designed opening that introduced the audience to the person of Julia Sweeney. It was endearing, delightful, funny and made me “really, really like her.” From there, she takes us on a whirlwind exploration of her life thereafter; meeting her husband, becoming a family all the way to sending her daughter off to college. A no hold bars reporting on the honest truth of being a housemom. The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater has a horseshoe design making it a good choice for an intimate production. Sitting in the first row, I had a very close vantage point and I can tell you, Sweeney did not show one iota of nervousness. Her performance was solid.

Her impersonations of other characters in her life, was particularly entertaining. She would take on the voice and mannerism of her mother, for example. I wanted to see more of this switching from the narrative to the character. With Ms. Sweeney’s natural talent and perfect timing, I’m surprised she didn’t milk a laugh. There were lost opportunities to do that — where she could have extended the moment and increased the volume of humor to a crescendo of “rolling in the aisle” funny.

Like most comics/comedians, she is an equal-opportunity offender. Religion, political party affiliation and of course the obligatory Trump bashing was not off the table. She may have carried the Trumpster Dumpster a little too long towards the end of a long evening. Most theater goers want to leave the noise of the news behind as they venture out for a night of entertainment. It was funny though.

All in all, opening night of Ms. Sweeney’s “Older & Wider” was a huge success.

Plays through February 17, 2019.

More Information and tickets visit the Geffen Playhouse online.

This performance was on Opening Night, February 9, 2019.

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