“Parallel Lives” – Nearly Naked Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ September 3, 2012


Nearly Naked Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Wacky, irreverent, and comically hysterical all describe Nearly Naked Theatre’s season opener, “Parallel Lives,” that stars local farceurs Andrea Morales and Johanna Carlisle in a virtual tour-de-force of comic delight.  Oh, the show is a bit too long and some of the humor seems dated and predictable but “Parallel Lives” will make you laugh.

Originally written by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney who also first performed it, the play’s 14 vignettes look at everyday occurrences and find the humor and hypocrisy that turn ordinary things into hysterical malarkey.  Providing too many details would destroy “Parallel Lives” comic stupidity, but an example will give you an idea of how the playwrights find humor in ordinary occurrences.

In a segment titled “Disney Mom Group Therapy” the trusting moms of several major Disney characters are featured.  Bambi’s mother gives her perspective on what it’s like having such a kid.  Other mothers of popular characters turn on the humor.

There’s an amusing sequence based on several Shakespeare characters, two troubled and perplexed kids are featured in another, and at the beginning of each act, the actors play supreme beings and talk about setting up the world.  Who will have babies, how will they be brought into the world, and since females will have kids, what will designate men.  Any more details of what’s included in “Parallel Lives” would ruin it.  It’s true that some of the material seems clichéd and expected but there’s lots of funny stuff.

The success of “Parallel Lives” rests with the two actors playing all the roles.  They play a myriad of types, both male and female, and Carlisle and Morales change personas at the drop of a line and go in and out of various characters with a rapidity and exuberance that makes them tops.  They’ve learned a myriad of dialogue and it comes out virtually perfect because the two performers play off each other wonderfully.  These two players are virtual masters at split second comic timing.

Director Damon Dering helps the pair achieve the madcap hilarity they bring to all the roles and his breezy staging enhances the frivolous comic byplay.

If there’s a criticism, it’s that several segments go on too long and that dampens the humor.  Quicker, faster, and more pointed would help the show be even funnier.

“Parallel Lives” is guaranteed to entertain and delight.  You’ll enjoy it and the marvelous comic machinations of Carlisle and Morales.  “Parallel Lives” runs through September 15.  For tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.nearlynakedtheatre.org.

Grade: A

One Response to ““Parallel Lives” – Nearly Naked Theatre”

  1. naoma said:

    Sep 14, 12 at 17:06

    I saw “Parallel Lives” last night and from beginning to end I probably laughed the loudest of anyone in the theater. I just could not stop. Nearly fell off my seat. It is without a doubt the funniest play I have EVER SEEN — and the plays I have seen
    number in multi-hundreds. These two actresses are superb and play each of their roles to perfection. Damon, CONGRATULATIONS ON A WINNER!