theatre review

Written and performed by Denalda Williams
Waterfront Theatre, Granville Island
July 5-10

Vancouver audiences really like plays by women about the kinds of everyday female experiences that have been theatrically marginalized—motherhood, menopause—and have helped launch shows like Mom’s the Word and Menopositive: The Musical into major hits. Denny Williams’ solo performance about the tribulations of growing up large-breasted may be (if you’ll excuse the inevitable pun) the next big thing.

Williams, a comic actress probably best known in Vancouver for her work with Theatre Sports, makes the tales of coping with her generous natural endowments often terrifically funny. Her story of the bra-Nazi/drill-sergeant saleswoman fitting her for her first (34C) bra as a ten-year-old is hilarious. So are her characterizations of her hard-drinking, unsympathetic aunt and her embarrassing Scottish father who always called her, loudly, by her nickname, “Boops!” Dealing with “boob overflow” at age 12 when she’d grown to be a double-D, with men (and women) who could never see past her tits, with the fear, pain and indignity of mammograms—Williams finds fresh ways of making this material work.

Knockers wanders and lags a little in the second half. Despite director Babz Chula’s attempts to create interesting stage actions, the show is basically stand-up, and in the section where Williams finds herself a “boob guru” the comedy begins to sound more like therapy. It’s inevitable and important that issues of body image and self-esteem be addressed in a show like this, and that element was much appreciated by the women in the audience. But it risks sucking some of the theatrical life out of the piece.

And anyway, Denny, your breasts aren’t really that big.

Jerry Wasserman

last updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 8:14 PM
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