What does Dora winner Paula Wolfson (Shakin' The Foundations) hafta do to get hired in this town? As if her work in Shakin' and When We Were Singing weren't proof of her talent, she gave an appreciative audience a dynamite 75-minute cabaret evening at Tallulah's last Sunday, at one point singing wistfully but pointedly to her Dora statuette about the lack of work. No one else would launch a one-woman show with Streisand's Funny Girl classic I'm The Greatest Star and substitute Mr. Mirvish for Broadway producer Mr. Ziegfeld. So, David Mirvish, when are you going to put Wolfson centre stage, where she belongs?
Sharon Gless (Cagney And Lacey, Queer As Folk) caught Damien Atkins's moving Good Mother at Stratford recently and was effusive in her comments to Atkins after the performance. She was right on the mark. Focusing on the relationship between a stroke-impaired woman (the luminous Seana McKenna) and her teenage daughter (Michele Graff), the cleverly structured piece opens with the stroke and only at midpoint jumps back to show us, with effective dramatic resonances, what the mother was like before it. Wouldn't mind seeing a film version with McKenna, Graff and Gless as the no-nonsense neuropsychologist who works with the stricken mother.
It might not have seemed like the right week to make people laugh, but the Atomic Fireballs show on September 16 came as much-needed comic relief. The four-person troupe keeps getting stronger. Their acting skills are better developed, they continue to take risks (one scene set in a gym shower explores new territory) and their comedy transcends gender though they have special insights into what it's like to be female -- look at their Saturn dealership sketch. Their closer, an absurd premise set in an airplane (yes, it was in good taste), was one of their best ever. Will someone please give them their own TV show?
Also caught the Laugh Resort's lineup last weekend. Duo headliners Rodney Pentland and Daryl Purvis were a tad under-prepared, but Pentland's Brando and De Niro in the Wizard Of Oz bit remains world-class. Opener Alex Nussbaum killed, especially with his riffs on his gangly bod. He's an ace physical comic. Connecting it all was host Simon Rakoff, smooth as buttah.