Mona, one of the kindly lesbian prostitute nuns who raised me, was ashamed of some of the stag films that she did in her dwindling years. But it did get her elected as den mother to a gang of derelict Webelos – so it wasn’t all bad.
Similarly, a bunch of us terror freaks LOVE Joan Crawford NOT for her Academy Award gyrating in Mildred Pierce (although that’s mighty fine, too) but for her controlled hysterics in such cult classics as Strait Jacket (1964), Berserk! (1967) and Trog (1970).
Nicely, Chicago’s illustrious, fun Hell in a Handbag Prductions is currently presenting Christmas Dearest, their version of A Christmas Carol as seen through the diva-like eyes of Crawford. Amazingly articulated by the incredible David Cerda, Joan is given the Scrooge treatment, here, with hilarious results.
One of the show’s true pleasures is its homage to Joan’s later career moves. With a brilliantly sodden Ed Jones, momentarily standing in as the elder Crawford, Cerda (who serves as playwright, as well) takes us to the set of an imagined Sci Fi Monster flick, a perfect stand in for all of our favorite celluloid goddess’ final screen credits. With drunken fervor, Jones’ Joan saves the day – but special notice should be given to handsome Michael John Lea who nicely captures the nuances of such (much younger), late career Crawford love interests as Lee Majors and Ty Hardin.
Featuring exemplary work from Steve Love as the younger, career hungry Joan, Cerda also offers up the final word on the Christina-Joan rivalry, here, making this the perfect holiday stage treat for film lovers of every sort.
Christmas Dearest runs in Chicago through December 28th, 2013. Further information can be gathered at http://www.handbagproductions.org.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan