'Entershamement': Theater Review

Ben Dauchez
One-woman show in which singer-comedian Amy Gordon emotionally bares all through inspired clowning and less-inspired song.

The one-woman show stars singer-comedian Amy Gordon.

When Amy Gordon took the stage on Thursday night at the newly opened Carrie Hamilton Theatre at the Pasadena Playhouse, she felt compelled to explain that yes, even with her flamboyant silver lame skirt, feather boa and boyish figure, she was indeed a woman and not a drag queen. In fact, her figure is the subject of her first two songs including the theme from Love Story, which involves a pair of fake breasts that wander around under her dress, a self-deprecating joke that’s unfortunately become a staple among female comedians. The next number, Aretha Franklin’s "Natural Woman," is a joke about silicone breasts, and for a while it seems like we might be in for a night of mildly amusing boob jokes.

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But we’re not. Something magical happens when Gordon stops singing and gets down to what she does best -- serious clowning. The theme of the night is shame, and Gordon, a personable and witty raconteur, promises to expose all she’s ashamed of about herself, whether it’s her boyish figure or the time she went on live German television and played “America the Beautiful” on the kazoo using an orifice other than her mouth, a show-stopping number she performs in the Entershamement’s finale.

It’s one of the evening’s high points (or low points, depending on tastes) and probably the most entertaining song of the 90-minute program that includes about a dozen. One includes a bra made of singing skulls while others, like “Being Green”, are sung straight. In fact, if there’s a problem with Gordon’s otherwise brilliant show it’s that there are too many songs and she’s not nearly as strong a singer as she is a comedian.

Her voice is adequate, though scratchy and thin, but when she clowns she’s pitch perfect. A significant portion of the act is performed on roller skates, including a bit where she unexpectedly encounters a glass floor that’s nearly impossible to maneuver on. It is a slapstick sequence that ranks with the greats of silent cinema as she teeters off balance then works her way from a slow step to full-on running in place, seemingly on the edge of disaster but always in full control.

Entershamement is a full night of hilarity and warmth as Gordon connects with the crowd in this intimate 72-seat venue, revealing herself with both sincerity and humor. Whether she’s flamenco dancing on roller skates or throwing her knee over the shoulder of Karl from Long Beach in the fourth row, Gordon is the funniest comedian you’ve never heard of.

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