At Least It's Pink
nytheatre.com review by Josh Sherman
January 24, 2007
Something tells me that Bridget Everett, the outrageously funny star of the new cabaret/theatre vehicle At Least It's Pink, really enjoys the idea of starting the new theater year with a bang. A rather big bang—in fact, a brassy, foul-mouthed, over-the-top, and riotously funny bang. With far and away the filthiest musical mouth in town, Bridget Everett will make your jaw drop in shock, your underwear shrink in horror, and your lungs empty from laughter.
This autobiographical "trashy little musical" just opened at Ars Nova, and the first thing that should be noted is that the show is anything BUT little, including Everett, its gleefully big-boned protagonist. In fact, the oversized glory of At Least It's Pink is that the piece (via Everett) is unafraid to assault the audience with expansive views on monogamous sex, casual sex, interracial sex, oral sex, anal sex, friendship, and eventually, abortion rights. Believe it or not, the show has a bit of a big heart to it as well, and has a marginal healing process at the end for the participants and audience.
Working with a starmaking team of collaborators including Michael Patrick King (writer/director/executive producer of Sex in the City) and Kenny Mellman (half of the duo Kiki & Herb), Everett goes for broke on her entrance as she wears a massive black and grey bustier, takes a huge swig from a bottle of chardonnay, and belts out "Big Girl", while beating an unsuspecting audience member senseless with her massive breasts. Her spectacular rapid-fire delivery on the number "Waiting" details her experiences as a waitress at Ruby Foo's. She shows off her impressive pipes—I mean, her singing voice—on the somewhat reflective "Maybe It's Time," "I'm Happy When," and the finale "A Lovely Shade of Pink."
Everett reaches her comic zenith with the indescribably graphic "Canhole," during which she drapes herself over her piano player Simon (Michael Leon-Wooley), describes their adventures in anal sex, then bends over and removes her pants to reveal a black thong on a thick frame. Actually, Everett's performance of "Canhole" really is worth the price of admission, because somehow, the bawdy performance is winsome enough to make you laugh with Everett, and not at her, similar to the titular character of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (whose fans should run, not walk, to the Ars Nova box office).
Everett interacts early and often with her audience, so if you were hoping that you may not be conversed with or if that prospect terrifies you, look out, she will find you. She mingles in and out of the crowd, has her own little catchphrases ("copy that") and will point-blank ask about your sexual preferences with a microphone. It is some pretty fantastic entertainment.
With more balls than the majority of the theatergoers in her audience, Everett commands the stage and the microphone well. If she isn't already, she deserves to be a bona fide cult hero for her sexual candor and for her fearlessness. Structurally, the piece slows down a bit after the climactic "Canhole" number (never thought I'd ever be writing that sentence). I would even say it is a bit of a stretch to classify this show as theatre at all, as it plays much more like a cabaret show that veers off course. Mellman's music is a complementary element to the piece, and King's direction keeps things moving along smoothly—though there is a lack of serious dramatic conflict. However, there are plenty of theatrical elements that will catch people by surprise, so I won't spoil it for you, as they are way too amusing and integral to the overall enjoyment of the piece.
Make no mistake—Bridget Everett is every bit as big of a star as she thinks she is, and I'm sure that many audience members would agree. At Least It's Pink is raw, bawdy, outrageous fun: start your year with a bang at Ars Nova.