Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

Wishful Drinking

Also see Susan's review of Ace

Carrie Fisher
Anyone who knows anything about Hollywood gossip over the past 50 years or so will know at least some of the most noteworthy events in the life of Carrie Fisher, but her rollicking one-woman show Wishful Drinking provides the once-in-a-lifetime experience of hearing about it firsthand.

Jean Giraudoux wrote: "The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made." Fisher's version is: "If my life weren't funny, it would just be true—and that's unacceptable." That fearless sense of humor has probably saved her life on many occasions.

First of all is Fisher's description of her childhood. "I was born to simple folk," she says: her parents are movie star Debbie Reynolds and pop singer Eddie Fisher. Debbie and Eddie were the matron of honor and best man when Elizabeth Taylor married Mike Todd, but Eddie left Debbie for Liz after Mike's death in a plane crash. Fisher presents a family tree of the ensuing multiple marriages and the resulting children, under the headline "Hollywood Inbreeding 101."

But that's just the beginning. In her teens, Fisher appeared onstage with her mother; at 19, George Lucas cast her as Princess Leia in Star Wars, making her an icon to a generation of movie fans. (She shows the audience several knockoff products including a Princess Leia shampoo bottle and Pez dispenser.) She had a brief marriage to Paul Simon ("a short Jewish singer. My father is a short Jewish singer. See the pattern?"), then had a daughter with another man who happened to be gay. She recounts her problems with addiction, with bipolar disorder, and how she coped with the death of a gay male friend who died in her bed during a visit.

What keeps all of this from voyeurism is Fisher's self-possession and hard-won self-knowledge. As guided by director Tony Taccone, she seems supremely confident, chatting with individual audience members and forging a genuine rapport.

Arena Stage
Wishful Drinking September 5th —28th
Created and performed by Carrie Fisher
Directed by Tony Taccone
Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. N.W.
Washington, DC
Ticket Information: 202-488-3300 or

Photo: Kevin Berne at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

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