From the Fringe: ‘Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical’

Fringe review: Debbie Does Dallas, Warren Acting Company, Orlando.

By Elizabeth Maupin

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.

7 responses to “From the Fringe: ‘Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical’

  1. Chere Force

    .
    ahhh technology!
    (blog requires a comment to follow any follow up comments so I’m posting a “.” with hopes of seeing any/all comments posted.)

  2. John DiDonna

    Chere I was wondering what all th dots with you name were! That is hysterically funny! Bravo for figuring out the system.

    Have not seen the show but love me some Joel and Melissa that is all I will say!

  3. The technical faults of the production were bad. These faults did not take away from the overall performance in my opinion. The play was well executed by the actors under the circumstances. After the show I ask one of the actors about the show and she said that the monitors on stage were not working and they could not hear anything. I doubt these technical faults will rear their ugly head again. Give this show a chance and I believe you will enjoy it. To the reviewer: why not give it a second shot?

  4. Sorry, Patrick, but a reviewer can’t go back when there are 50 or 60 or 70 or so other shows still to be seen.

  5. Technical difficulties aside, did You enjoy yourself? Did you get a good chuckle?

  6. Can you really not like a Fringe Show because of technical issues? Sound? Lighting? Aren’t the Fringe people running that stuff? As far as the actors and the show outside of that I really enjoyed it. It’s campy and funny…it’s a musical based on a famous porn…it’s what I expected and more! I’m gonna try and go again and hopefully those little bugs will have been worked out.