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Review: TAMARIE COOPER'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW at Catastrophic Theatre

Review: TAMARIE COOPER'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW at Catastrophic Theatre

Running through August 6th at the MATCH! Flock to this one people! It's been too long!

Almost every year, like clockwork... CATASTROPHIC THEATRE seemed to trot out Tamarie Cooper during the dog days of summer to showcase her one-woman show with a cast of thousands. Annually it would top Houston's "Best Things to Do!" and "Most Awesome Theater!" lists. Crowds would flock to see what material she came up with like when she choreographed Barbie orgies or onstage food fights. And then the pandemic happened: for two long years, Tamarie disappeared. At first, there was no sign she was still alive. And then I would spot her occasionally in the audience at a Catastrophic show (or in line at a drive-thru at Whataburger) as we slowly emerged from the grip of icy fear that was COVID-19. But now... like some sort of theatrical miracle...a phoenix rising from the flames...a belch long after a meal...she is back! Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW is indeed sticky, sweet, and insane as ever. Nobody does Tamarie quite like Tamarie!


If you are not familiar with a Tamarie Cooper show, the basic premise is that she puts on a cabaret-style musical with a huge set and casts all of her friends every year. They usually lampoon current events, revel in Tamarie's memories from junior high, and have some off the wall over the top musical production numbers in-between jokes. This year for the Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW they have plenty of ammo since they have been shut down for two years. This current "spectacular spectacular" includes an entire production number dedicated to egg rolls, feral actors, a game show that ends with Ted Cruz being hunted by drag queens armed with spears, social media apps coming to life as real people, and furniture trying desperately to disrupt a disco dance-off. Basically, this is any Thursday night at the MATCH, and Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW is hilariously off-kilter fun.

Of course, the main star as usual of Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW is oddly enough Miss Tamarie Cooper. She created the show along with Patrick Reynolds who helped with the book and musical contributions from Miriam Daly, Erin Rodgers, and Alli Villines. Tamarie dances and sings her way through five original songs, two shoe changes, and a back and forth with each actor in the company (as well as most of the audience). Tamarie is a whirling dervish, a force of nature, and a comedic genius of a performer. She rises to the challenge of playing herself admirably, and it's the kind of role she was born to play. I doubt any other actor or actress in Houston could portray her quite as convincingly. She is a Houston treasure, and I am so glad to be able to revel in her goofy glory once again. As the opening song says, "It's Good To Be Back" and I couldn't agree more.

Yet as usual, she is definitely not alone in her otherworldly plane of her own dementia. There is a huge cast behind the starlet to put on Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW, and they each contribute something unique and amazing. Ronnie Blaine almost steals the entire evening with his "PTSD from the pandemic" monologue. I wanted to give him a standing ovation and a cinnamon roll! John Dunn gets to add Ted Cruz and Racist Step Uncle Roy to his ever-growing list of "completely unlikable characters that you somehow like because it's John Dunn." Bryan Kaplun goes through every number looking like he is still 1000% feral from the lockdown. I can't get his maniacal beaming grin out of my head. Julia Oppenheim makes for a wonderful dance nemesis of Tamarie's, and her distinctive voice is a highlight throughout the show. Angela Pinina portrays your worst YouTube nightmare come to life. Kyle Sturdivant embodies Tamarie's father and exposes enough chest hair to make me wonder about the Oedipal / Freudian dysfunction that must exist between him and Tamarie. It's the crossroads of patriarch and sex bomb that blew my hair back. Abraham Zapata captures the extreme creepiness and fear of Facebook. No seriously... he's icky in all the right ways. And then there is Walt Zipprian. The man has given me nightmares in the past portraying Gwenyth Paltrow and Ann Coulter. This year... it is far more horrific than I could have imagined. Someone really should stop him someday; although, I would cry a lake of tears if they did. The band is incredibly tight, the sets are marvelously funny, and the costumes are pretty great.

In short, you need to see Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW. It is the sort of thing that feels like the antidote to the COVID pandemic and lockdown that scarred us all collectively. It truly should be added to your vaccination card right under the third or fourth booster we are sure to be getting soon. It's silly, it's fun, and it is as always sheer joy personified from start to finish. It's an easy "one and done" act that lasts an hour and twenty minutes. So grab a twelve-dollar glass of wine, and get ready to not have to stand in line at the bathroom. Chances are laughing this much... you'll just have to change pants once you get home. Sticky and sweet indeed!

Tamarie Cooper'S LIVE IN PERSON STICKY SWEET SUMMER SHOW runs at the MATCH complex through August 6th. Tickets are available through the MATCH website, and are "pay what you can". Masks are required inside the venue, and everyone followed this policy save for two "COVIDiots" who were obviously "Not Ready for Society '' yet. They were chased out of the theater by drag queens carrying spears and Walt Zipprian. I heard their screams until they got past Kura which is the revolving sushi place across the street. Then suddenly the screaming stopped.




From This Author - Brett Cullum

Brett Cullum has been part of the Houston and Memphis Theatre scenes for several decades now. He's been seen on community theatre and professional stages in several cities including Playhouse 1960,... (read more about this author)


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