BWW Reviews: HUSBAND FIXIN 101 Entertains
Julia Kay Laskowski and Patti Rabaza are back as Mavis and Myrtle in HUSBAND FIXIN 101, the latest musical comedy in the Country Gravy and Other Obsessions series. My first experience with the duo of comediennes was with their holiday themed rib-tickler, HOME FOR THE DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY HOLIDAYS, and I, like the rest of the opening night crowd, simply couldn't wait to see what they had cooked up for HUSBAND FIXIN 101. The performance earned a lot of laughs and kept us entertained, but this show simply isn't as strong as I expected.
With a whole slew of new songs, the material for this Country Gravy and Other Obsessions showcase doesn't feel as well constructed as HOME FOR THE DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY HOLIDAYS did. The show opens with "Husband Fixin," in which we are told that "you simply can't fix him on your own," but as the show progresses it seems the idea of fixing the problems associated with domestic life get somewhat left behind.
Numbers like "Nip it in the Bud," "Mental Leash," and "C.O.N.T.R.O.L" definitely fall in line with the theme of fixing husbands, but other pieces like "Don't Hug the Stinky" could be aimed at people inside and outside of committed relationships. This doesn't diminish the humorous authenticity of those numbers, it just makes the show feel a little misguided.
Also, there are moments that seem to run on too long. For example, when Myrtle connects with an author, Large Marge, via Skype to discuss her novel Come On!!!, the segment starts out funny, but loses its appeal quickly. Also, the video feed of Candy LaRue, who sadly doesn't make an in-person cameo, starts funny but drags a bit as well.
For the theatrical candy that is HUSBAND FIXIN 101, Patti Rabaza and Julia Kay Laskowski both brilliantly show-off their gifted and multi-faceted vocal instruments. Both powerfully embrace their divine alto registers while also showcasing their soaring soprano heights from time to time. Additionally, they work beautiful melodies into their duets with one another.
Daryl Banner, who plays pianist Schworken, gets a nice monologue and number as well. In previous Country Gravy and Other Obsessions shows he has been mostly silent, so it is a real treat to get to hear him joke around with the audience and sing a song.
HUSBAND FIXIN 101 does what it sets out to do, which is to entertain audiences and make us laugh. If you've never met Myrtle and Mavis before, it is a solid introduction to the zany characters. However, if this is your first time to attend one of their seminars, I highly suggest you do everything you can to attend another one.
The World Premiere of HUSBAND FIXIN 101, presented by Theater LaB Houston, plays at Obsidian Art Space, 3522 White Oak Drive, Houston, 77007 now through Sunday, April 6, 2014. The remaining performances are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 5:00 p.m., and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.theaterlabhouston.com or call (713) 868-7516.
If you would like to book Country Grave and Other Obsessions, please contact Scott DelaCruz with All The Way Around, LLC at email@example.com or by calling (212) 302-4848 ext. 438.
Photos courtesy of Patti Rabaza.
Julia Kay Laskowski as Mavis & Patti Rabaza as Myrtle.
Julia Kay Laskowski as Mavis.
Daryl Banner as Schworken.
Patti Rabaza as Myrtle
Patti Rabaza as Myrtle