As celebrity one-person autobiographical shows on Broadway go, Wishful Drinking doesn’t suck. That may not be saying much, but thankfully Carrie Fisher’s abundant wit as a writer and her staunch refusal to take even her worst problems that seriously (for the purposes of this show anyway) make this a reasonably enjoyable evening in the theatre.
In spite of a comfy set of furniture on the Studio 54 stage, there’s precious little that’s spontaneous. That’s understandable, since Fisher’s life was incredibly complicated from birth, and making any sense of it takes a lot of structure. In one of the show’s most entertaining moments, Fisher tries to narrate the complicated love lives of her parents Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, for which she needs an intricate chart and a pointer to keep score.
Of course, Fisher is best known as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars. And so naturally, the end of Act One is devoted to Fisher deconstructing her relationship to that “asinine hairdo” as she calls it, the affected English accent that comes and goes in the course of the movie, and her merchandising as everything from shampoo to a Pez dispenser. To say nothing of the gold bikini in The Return of the Jedi.
Much of Act Two is devoted to Fisher’s struggles with alcoholism and bipolar disorder. She doesn’t so much talk about these problems as dance jokily around them, which I must admit is a refreshing approach when compared to the maudlin self-indulgence of most celebrity confessionals. I had the nagging feeling that this would be better poured into a fictional form, as she did so successfully with Postcards from the Edge. Still, this show is clearly a crowd pleaser, and I wish Her Craziness well.
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