The circus, as Sara Moore describes it in her solo piece Show Ho, is "the only place for those too weird, strange or queer to live anywhere else. It's the Island of Misfit Toys." (Funny, that's what I always say to describe New York.)
As a Jersey teenager dealing with coming out, her "manly girl" looks, the emergence of AIDS and a feeling that she peaked at age 11, Moore did what so many others dream of and ran away to join the circus. In real life she's hit the big top big time, having worked with Ringling Brothers, Six Flags Circus Arena Productions and Merv Griffin's Resorts (where she was proclaimed "The Fannie Brice of Atlantic City"), but in Show Ho she plays a fictional alter-ego, Rhonda Hammerstein, a "Hell's Kitchen Retard" (Note: Any language in this column that might be interpreted as politically incorrect is a direct quote from the playwright. I think it's a "take back the word" kinda thing.) whose experiences coming of age sexually and emotionally while traveling with a significantly lower-rent outfit parallel Moore's early career. A frothy blend of fact and fiction.
Portraying the numerous denizens of a troupe which the owner bitterly growls "ain't no fancy French Canadian cirque", Moore easily glides from caricature to caricature. mostly emphasizing the negative qualities of her crew. And although Show Ho is a fine vehicle for her talent for mimicry, a collection of extended routines frequently toss what little plot there is aside and leaves you wondering why there's a story to begin with. A topless boxer routine and a lip-sync opera bit, to name a couple, seriously overstay their welcomes.
But even if you're not laughing out loud at Sara Moore's antics (And to be fair, I believe I was the only one in the house not laughing out loud.), she's still an engaging performer with an easy-going manner and, when she's playing her Rhonda alter-ego, a sincere and sympathetic charm. With some better-crafted story telling, Show Ho would be a worthier showcase for this lovable, self-proclaimed misfit.