If you only know Carrie Fisher from her “Star Wars” days, then you don’t know Carrie Fisher. Spend a few hours with her in her cheerily sardonic one woman show, Wishful Drinking, and you begin to get a glimpse of who this multi-faceted woman really is.
With her basso voice and hilariously straightforward delivery, the slim-and-trim Fisher (she’s lost 50 lbs with Jenny Craig, and she looks great) makes you feel like you’ve been invited to a private get-together in her living room — a living room that happens to have a multi-media projection system to display images and photos to accompany her side-splitting autobiography.
Things start off loose and free-form, complete with song, glitter throwing, frank admission of her alcoholism (she’s been sober for a number of years) and a bit of Q&A with the audience (audience members freely yelled their questions from the 2,000-plus seat Bank of America Theatre). But Fisher finally gets to the theme of the evening by saying, “If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.” And from there, Fisher mines the comedy from her anything-but-ordinary upbringing, which involved two celebrity parents (Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher) skipping high school to perform alongside her mother, a 12-year relationship with singer Paul Simon, addiction, intergalactic stardom and electroconvulsive therapy.
And in one of her best bits, a giant “Hollywood In-breeding 101” blackboard flies down from the wings, which she uses to map our her infamous family’s tempestuous relationships.
You love Fisher because she gets it: she fully acknowledges her tabloid-happy life is one of ridiculousness and ridicule, but it’s the life she was given and the life she choose to lead (she points out that her brother is completely normal). And we love hearing her talk about it.
While the first act is more entertaining than the second (things start to transition into an “overcoming addiction” empowerment speech), I haven’t laughed this hard in the theatre in months.
Oh, and she talks about some movie called Star Wars the she apparently was a part of, if you’re into that sort of thing.
“Wishful Drinking” plays through October 16 at the Bank of America Theatre. Tickets and more info here >
Next up for Broadway in Chicago is the family classic, “Mary Poppins.” Performances begin October 13 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Tickets and more info here >