Cygnet’s GEORGIA MCBRIDE has hilarity and heart

At first it may seem like a strange jump for an Elvis impersonator to become a drag queen.  Yet, when you looks at the jumpsuits, the sequins, the capes, and of course a devotion to some fabulous “blue suede shoes”, it’s seems it may not be as big a jump as once imagined. THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE at the Cygnet Theatre, is a fun, if somewhat formulaic comedy, full of family, heart, and making the most of your talents, whatever those may be in the end.

Spencer Bang, David McBean
Photo by Daren Scott

Casey, played by Spencer Bang, is a loveable, if ineffective Elvis impersonator, who comes home to find that his wife Jo, played by Alexandra Slade is angry that the rent check has bounced due to his last Papa John’s order.  She’s also riled up because she’s pregnant and she is worried they won’t be able to raise a child if they can’t even pay the rent.

Ever hopeful, Casey says ‘We are going to be the best parents since Joseph and Mary.”

“Yeah, but their kid died,” Jo snaps back to get him out of delight and back to reality.

Casey goes back to his boss Eddie, the owner of Cleo’s the bar where he was finding little success as the King, desperate to make some money to support his growing family.  Eddie, played by Lance Carter, has a surprise of his own, his cousin Tracy Mills, a drag queen, played by the formidable David McBean, has arrived to put on her show with her cohort and boozy bestie Roxy, played by Chesley Polk

Unfortunately, one day Roxy is too inebriated to show up to work and Casey finds that his sparkles and costumes as Elvis are a quick jump into drag to support his family. He finds he likes being on stage in a role the audience enjoys, and so begins his drag career. Drag queens, the magical creatures that they are, turn this dingy bar in the Florida Panhandle into a success thanks to their performances and the legend of Georgia McBride is born.

Spencer Bang, as Casey, is loveable as the ever optimistic Casey. He is particularly funny as he takes over  Roxy’s Edith Piaf number, sung in French of course.  This number also shows his growth into the art of drag as he gets better and finds he likes it.  The drag is in the details, and it is here where this performance will get better the more performances he get sunder is many sequined belts as Georgia McBride. As charming as he is as Casey, it’s sometimes hard to make out why his Georgia McBride becomes so popular the way she does.

David McBean
Photo by Daren Scott

David McBean is fabulous as Miss Tracy Mills.  His delivery and his polish make hi Tracy a force of comedic nature.  He is effective both in his amazing wigs and costumes, as he is in pajamas.  His Tracy Mills keeps this story afloat, with his hilarious and powerful stage presence as well as in some of his more subtle scenes.

Chesley Polk
Photo by Daren Scott

Chesley Polk, as Trays friend Roxy and doing double duty as Casey’s friend Jason, is a solid performer.  He really stands out as the sometimes cartoonish caricature of a drag queen, but also turns on a dime to serious with a speech about the power of drag. “Drag is a protest.  Drag is a raised fist in a sequined glove.”

Lance Carter, splendid as Eddie, turns the audience in the theatre into Cleo’s patrons with his hilarious introduction at the top of the show.

It’s at the end of the show when Casey has to explain to his wife Jo how he’s been making his money that this show makes it’s final dig for permission to be loved.  .But since it’s a comedy all gets wrapped up neatly with a fabulous bow at the end.

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE shows how a boy grows into the man he needs to be, by becoming a woman onstage.  Hilarious and heartwarming, this is a highly entertaining night at the theatre.

Playing through November 12th at the Cygnet Theatre, show times and tickets can be found at www.Cygnettheatre.com

Leave a Reply