Fringe review: Debbie Does Dallas, Warren Acting Company, Orlando.
A show called Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical sounds like it ought to be Fringe royalty. After all, this show started out at a Fringe festival (New York’s, in 2001) and went over so well that it went on to an off-Broadway run in 2002. But its sure-fire Fringe-audience-pleasing subject matter – a satirical take on the 1978 porn film, but set to intermittent music – comes off as a lot less sure-fire in Orlando, where a sloppy, strident production makes Debbie a whole lot less of a good-time girl than she might normally be.
Director Joel Warren has some good ideas: He gives Debbie and her cheerleader pals the most exaggerated kind of Valley Girl enunciation, and there’s some clever business early on. (When one of the girls enthuses, she always grabs her breasts.) But that business gets old within five minutes, and show looks and sounds terrible: The lighting is dim, the staging fussy, and the sound so poor that you can’t understand the dialogue. Despite the charms of Melissa Mason’s Debbie, this is a one-note musical – and not much of a musical at that. Here’s a lesson for the cheerleading squad: Vulgar isn’t funnier just because it’s loud.
Remaining shows: 4:20 p.m. Saturday 5/22, 3:25 p.m. Sunday 5/23, 8:10 p.m. Tuesday 5/25, 10:20 p.m. Thursday 5/27, noon Saturday 5/29, 5:20 p.m. Sunday 5/30. Silver venue.