“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true…”
So begins Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show, Wishful Drinking, currently playing at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.
And Carrie Fisher is one funny broad.
Born into a Hollywood royalty, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher is best known (renowned?) for being one of the principle stars in the 1977 blockbuster Star Wars and its two sequels, though she may be most notorious for her recent battles with drugs and mental illness.
And in Wishful Drinking, Carrie doesn’t hide anything.
Alcohol, drugs, food, rehab, Elizabeth Taylor, marriages, divorces, motherhood, daughterhood, Hollywood, aging, weight gain, death, Paul Simon, gay icons, institutionalization, electroshock, Princess Leia, that awful Star Wars TV Xmas show (yes, I watched it when it aired), the gold bikini, it’s all here and delivered with a wonderful sense of self-mockery and wit.
Kicking off her flip-flops and taking the occasional drag on an electric cigarette, the newly slimmed-down and glittered Fisher speaks directly to the audience (which is always risky) effortlessly. But having read her novels, Postcards from the Edge and Surrender the Pink, I wasn’t surprised that she was quick on her feet. The set, looking like a cross between a living-room and comic book convention, adds to the charm and reflects the eclectic dialog.
Carrie now controls her bi-polar disorder (once called manic-depressive disorder) with a combination of drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (which we are told is not like One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest). There aren’t many folks – let alone famous folks – that would discuss such a personal (and often still taboo) subject of mental illness, but Carrie talks about her demons and seems to slay them with laughter and a (pitch perfect) rendition of “Happy Days are Here Again”. And along the way she even teaches the audience a little something about mental illness as well.
The Gay Groom gives Wishful Drinking:
3 ½ Discerning Nods of Approval ™ out of 4.
Wishful Drinking runs through August 21 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom