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BWW Review: Fabulous PHOEBE JEEBIES Breaks New Ground With DRAG THERAPY at Don't Tell Mama

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Her beautiful broken heart informs her beautiful healing art and Phoebe Jeebies is sharing and baring all.

BWW Review: Fabulous PHOEBE JEEBIES Breaks New Ground With DRAG THERAPY at Don't Tell Mama

There are two different ways to consider the title of Phoebe Jeebies' new show, DRAG THERAPY, which debuted last night at Don't Tell Mama. The first and simplest is that the art of performing drag provides therapy for Phoebe Jeebies, a natural enough thought, since every artist throughout history, since the first cave dweller first carved on the wall of the cave, has found therapy in the creation of their art. The second, and more complex, way to think about Ms. Jeebie's show title is that she is using her time on stage like a therapy session, and everyone in the audience is a member of The Group. That, too, is valid because every artist, from that cave decorating dweller to the youngest artist of 2021 who just drew a picture of the sun with their box of sixty-four Crayola crayons, is informed in their work by their life and the birthmarks that life leaves on them, be it physically, metaphysically, or mentally.

Both of these suppositions are absolutely true.

BWW Review: Fabulous PHOEBE JEEBIES Breaks New Ground With DRAG THERAPY at Don't Tell Mama Drag Therapy is not your average drag show. The wonderful thing about drag is that the art form cannot be made to fit into any one mold: all drag artists create their own identity, write their own story, and control their own destiny. Phoebe Jeebies has an aesthetic and a reputation for MegaMix lip-syncs performed to meticulously curated and edited pieces of music and snippets of dialogue from the soundtracks of fabulous bits of film audience members often recognize and relate to. While there is plenty of her lip-sync talent on display in Drag Therapy, this show is Phoebe's most personal, vulnerable, and honest creation to date, for which she deserves a rounding pat on the back and a rousing round of applause. For Phoebe Jeebies' one-person play is about her struggles with multiple mental diagnoses.

See? Not your average drag show.

BWW Review: Fabulous PHOEBE JEEBIES Breaks New Ground With DRAG THERAPY at Don't Tell Mama Drag Therapy plays like performance art. Using specifically chosen recordings for the lip-sync portions of the show, Ms. Jeebies spends much of her time on the stage standing at the microphone and performing dramatic monologues she has scripted to describe her lifelong battles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety. She speaks eloquently and honestly in verbiage designed to enlighten those not in the know and to assure those who know that of which she speaks that they are not alone. At times sounding like a beat poet and others like a theatrical monologist, Phoebe paints pictures of a sometimes uncomfortable nature for the people in the seats before launching into a fierce, feeling, and freeing lip-sync (after lowering her mic-stand and placing it in exactly the same place, every time). It is a delicate balance between the two lanes in which she is working, and she has it in pretty good check for most of the show, one that she needs to keep doing and one for which people need to keep buying tickets because the show is both entertaining and important.

It is not, though, complete yet. It will be, but it's not yet.

BWW Review: Fabulous PHOEBE JEEBIES Breaks New Ground With DRAG THERAPY at Don't Tell Mama On the Don't Tell Mama website, the event page for Drag Therapy says: Join Phoebe for a night of music and comedy as she examines her neuroses and celebrates the healing power of art. Right now there isn't enough comedy in Drag Therapy to back up the advertising. And there can be comedy in this story because, as everyone knows, comedy comes from pain. What could be more painful than living a life so fraught with neuroses that you are perpetually unhappy? There is comedy to be found in Phoebe's story, right alongside the pain, and a few times during her performance there were glimmers of humor in the journey - but not enough. Almost all of the comedic moments in Drag Therapy were reserved for Ms. Jeebies' spectacular lip-syncs at the end of the play, and that's too late, no matter how exquisite she is, and there must be no mistaking this: Phoebe Jeebies is an exquisite performer, whether lip-syncing or monologuing. Exquisite. What Ms. Jeebies needs to do before her next outing with Drag Therapy is to sit down with a script doctor who can help give her play a theatrical structure, the fluidity of highs and lows, a balance of light and dark, and a story arc that will take her storytelling journey to the happy ending, depositing her in the perfect center-stage spot to launch immediately into her MegaMix lip-syncs. At last night's performance, Phoebe had the anti-climactic moment of reaching the end of her scripted dialogue with no button, no bow, no fantastic final sentence to match her fascinating first sentence. The story merely ended with her saying, "Thank you so much for letting me tell my story." Do tell your story, Phoebe. Do tell your story, reader. Everybody, do tell your story - it is a story of value that people will want to hear and that they will listen to. When you tell your story, though, know where you are going with it and how it will end, and when it is time to end, dock that thing with style, flair, and commitment. At this point, all Phoebe Jeebies needs to complete her on-stage journey in a way that matches her individuality is that tiny bit of theatrical magic that comes with proper preparation, the kind that comes from the foundation built upon a solid script.

With just a few tweaks of her show, Phoebe Jeebies will be ready to take Drag Therapy on the road and into clubs, mental healthcare facilities, schools, festivals, and anywhere else where life-informed art has a chance of casting light into the shadows. That, after all, is what artists do, isn't it? They illuminate.

Phoebe Jeebies has the light and she is raring to go.

Phoebe Jeebies DRAG THERAPY was a one-off but hopefully, there will be future performances for people to catch. Follow Phoebe Jeebies on Instagram for updates HERE.

Check out the Don't Tell Mama website to find other great shows HERE.

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