BWW Review: TAMARIE FOR PRESIDENT Fillibusters the Funny at Catastrophic Theatre
TAMARIE FOR PRESIDENT is the 19th production for Tamarie Cooper and her musical comedy cohorts in Houston. It's become a summer tradition and a show that offers plenty of laughs and fun from The Catastrophic Theatre company. It started small, but has become a production that sells out every night well in advance.
If you're just not feeling the WICKED groove over at the Hobby Center, Tamarie may well be your choice for president this summer.
She's also a lot more reasonable with "pay-what-you-can" ticket pricing and performances at the MATCH in Midtown which offers free to rock bottom priced parking compared to the Theatre District. This is so much fun, and something you don't want to miss this season. It's a time when we could all use a good laugh, and Tamarie is going for broke as she does every summer with her sardonic take aimed at elections.
This one is subtitled "Greatest Hits Volume 2" which suggests the musical numbers are culled from several previous productions, and reassembled for a Presidential campaign year extravaganza. Now Tamarie is not running for the top office of the United States, but rather for a theater arts organization who has a rather lurid acronym laying in wait for you. Running against her are pompous ass Greg Dean and sarcastic jerk Walt Zipprian. Tamarie is going to have to whip out major campaign tricks with the help of Ronnie Blaine, and of course her usual cast of supporters. Chief among those are Kyle Sturdivant who basically steals the show with his turn as a succulent turkey, a Texas preacher, and a fellow What-A-Burger customer engaged in a food eating contest ballet with Tamarie.
Like most shows from Miss Tamarie, I'm not really sure how to describe what I saw at the theatre. Impossibly we are witness to patriotic anthems complete with people in stars and striped g-strings, a song sung by Internet trolls, a musical number about the dysfunction at Thanksgiving, a high octane dance production from the Grim Reaper, a smoky flashback to the 80s, a Barbie doll sex orgy, an ode to the sexiness of Gilligan, and a revival encouraging Texas transplants to be born again. The show moves at a million miles an hour jumping from one insane situation to the next over the course of three hours! It's a long one, but it's totally worth the bladder control required. Thankfully there is an intermission, and the bathrooms at MATCH are plenty big enough to handle hundreds of patrons urinating at once. You really won't mind because it's such a good time.
If you haven't seen a Tamarie show you're missing out on a Houston tradition and treasure, and this is the perfect place to start. Her production values have grown enormously since she was with Infernal Bridegroom hanging out in bars and hoping people would show up. Now she's a bona fide hit with the ability to sell out her entire run and have a stunning theatrical showcase. The set designed by Ryan McGettigan looks expensive and tacky all at once. It is an American flag motif with an inventive star that doubles as a video screen at key moments. Tamarie herself and Pam Pellegrino outfit the cast in gaudy costumes that capture the silliness perfectly. The supporting chorus are all pros, and they execute anything asked of them from number to number with grace and aplomb. It's truly an ensemble show, and everybody rises up to the occasion.
Just to clue you in on the importance of this one Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner even shows up at one point as well as Wolf Blitzer and Anne Coulter. Tamarie has somehow turned up the star power to full wattage this time around, and you have to see it to believe it. They even got a dancing cockroach from the Alley Theatre's production of BORN YESTERDAY. Trust me, this one's a blast just when you need the relief. Laugh a little, and then go cry over our current Presidential race which could benefit from a Barbie doll sex orgy right about now. You can't miss with TAMARIE FOR PRESIDENT, since she's been a surefire hit ticket for 19 years now.
TAMARIE FOR PRESIDENT runs at the MATCH complex through August 6th. Tickets are "pay what you can" although $35 is suggested. Acquire them before they sell out at www.catastrophictheatre.com Or by calling (713) 521-4533. Seats are not assigned so arriving early is key if you want the best selection.