Sordid Lives; Review: Rising Action Serves Steamy Hot Piles of Campy Humor and Trashy Characters

Sordid Lives

Half Rocky Horror Picture Show, half John Waters-esque dark comedy, Sordid Lives is about what happens when hillbillies, their friends, and their gay relatives collide in that curious territory we call Texas. More cultish than classic, it garners big laughs from the audience by being over-the-top as opposed to well-written or, at times, well-acted. The initial conflict includes a dead Peggy, the good ol' Christian matriarch, simultaneously beloved and loathed by those who knew her, who seems to have fallen in with the wrong crowd when she kills herself tripping over her married lover's wooden legs in a seedy motel room. Her daughter attempts to explain away Peggy's lapse in morality to a brain tumor that turned her into a nymphomaniac. The play deals with the aftermath of the mother's death, vacillating between boring hillbilly chatter and charming, hilarious performances. An obvious highlight includes Bill Dobbins' rendition of Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram, Peggy's gay son, who has been undergoing "dehomosexualization" for the past 20 years with a therapist who has her own motivations: She believes curing him of "the gay" is her ticket to Oprah. If campy humor and trashy characters sound like a treat, Sordid Lives serves up steaming hot piles of both.
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Erica K. Landau