Saturday, August 11, 2018

Fringe 2018 - Review - Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex and My Mother - 5 Stars

#mnfringe show 16 - Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex and My Mother - @jamiebrickhouse weaves a tale you couldn't tell just anybody's mother, but my Mom and I both liked it a lot; Brickhouse spares neither his mother nor himself but it's a hell of a story - 5 stars

Let’s face it, Jamie Brickhouse is lucky to be alive, and he knows it.  Brickhouse is somehow still standing despite the fact that he’s indulged in more than his share of liquor, drugs, and sex during the plague years of the early AIDS epidemic.  There’s probably seven or eight Fringe shows in the life he’s led to date, but the one we get here is Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex and My Mother

“Cut to the chase, doctor.  Are we gonna have to lock him up?”

This self-described “sodomite solo show” (from his much more expansive memoir of the same title) is focused on his coming of age, coming out, coming unglued, and how it all was made better (and worse) by the figure of his larger than life mother, Mama Jean.  There’s probably not a gayer show in the Minnesota Fringe Festival this year, and I’m sure that’s just the way Brickhouse likes it.

“There are only two kinds of sex - oral and anal!  She forgot vaginal, but that was her problem.”

Jamie Brickhouse is a character with a capital C.  His sense of humor, about himself and others, is his saving grace, and it keeps this show from being a lot darker than it otherwise could be.  Brickhouse comes from a generation where it was still considered a disappointment to your family if you admitted you were gay, and well-meaning teachers would caution you against seeming too much like a sissy.  He may be in a long-term committed relationship that continues to sustain him today, but that union had to survive a lot of rocky times, including a suicide attempt that provides the framework on which this series of tales hangs.  And hovering over it all is the spirit (and threat) of Mama Jean.

“Her all-consuming love for me cloaked me like a cashmere sweater, in August.”

Brickhouse may have grown up and into his life as a gay man almost despite his mother, but she’s the one who swoops in and saves him when the going gets tough.  Thankfully, they both live long enough for him to return the favor when Mama Jean’s mind begins to fail her in her later years.  A mother’s love (however tempestuous) eventually teaches Brickhouse how to love (and stop punishing) himself.  We don’t live in the world Jamie Brickhouse passed through to get to today, thank goodness.  But it’s a useful time to revisit, so we don’t slide back.  Jamie Brickhouse is a hell of a storyteller, with a hell of a story to tell in Dangerous When Wet.  You should give it a listen.

5 Stars - Very Highly Recommended

Here's some handy links to reviews of 5 Star Shows, 4.5 Star Shows, 4 Star Shows, 3 Star Shows, and my full Top 10, Top 11-20 and Returning Favorites lists.

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