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A Challenging Production of Joy Cutler's Pardon My Invasion

Also see Patrick's review of Victor/Victoria

Philadelphia playwright Joy Cutler has written a very provocative oddball black comedy about body transference. This was quite the thing in films in the late 1960s and '70s, for example the Tony Curtis/Debbie Reynolds flick

Goodbye Charlie and Lily Tomlin/Steve Martin movie All of Me or even The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The plot of Pardon My Invasion centers around successful pulp fiction writer Rita (Sondra Putnam) and her 13-year-daughter Penny (Marissa Keltie). What happens when her characters come to life is the crux of this fast-paced 90 minute comedy. A soldier, Private Jack, serving in Iraq inhabits the body of Penny. Suddenly the daughter is talking military jargon, including a lot of the f-word. She tells her mother "A man is in my body." Of course the mother is extremely concerned about this new phase.

The audience sees a steam of outrageous characters come to life, including guff master sergeant Sarge (John Flanagan), who comes out of the apartment walls to loudly yell orders to Pvt. Jack; a voluptuous femme fatale dressed like Mae West called Honey Babe (Marie Shell); police officer Stacy (Juliet Tanner), who served two tours in Iraq; and Penny's high school love interest Kyle (Randy J. Blair). All are part of the crazy plot.

Director Joe Weatherby has assembled a very good cast for this silly comedy with some serious overtones. Marissa Keltie is excellent as both Penny and Pvt. Jack. Her mannerisms and speech patterns are well done as the soldier. Sandra Putnam gives an agreeable performance as the mother.

Joe Flanagan intensely spoofs the sergeant and he certainly has a powerful voice when yelling in Marissa Keltie's ear. Marie Shell is hilarious with her smoky voice. Her dialogue in her confrontations with Sarge would be called X-rated in born again Christian circles. Both Juliet Tanner as Officer Stacy and Randy Blair as Kyle give engaging performances in smaller roles. Director Joe Weatherby keeps the production moving at a brisk pace.

Pardon My Invasion, by Brisk Weather Productions, is having its West Coast premiere at The Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason Street, San Francisco. The oddball comedy plays through February 8th. For tickets call 800-838-3006 or visit www.phoenixtheatresf.org.


Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema



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