Something Extra Collective, Blake Snyder Theatre, until September 8th
My Two Cents
By Kelly Moncton
Pageant is energetic, silly fun. Every actor onstage is doing drag, but there isn’t the heavy makeup and sharp wit one might expect in our current age of RuPaul. Instead, the writing makes fun of beauty pageants in a milder way. Each contestant in the beauty pageant is given chances to be utterly ridiculous, and charm the heck out of the audience.
Kelly-Ruth Mercier’s timing and smooth delivery was exactly as smarmy as you’d expect from a pageant host. She didn’t steal any thunder from the contestants, but ended up being a star in her own right. I was also impressed by the two-piece band, under Amy Gartner. They were musically strong, balanced their volume to the singers well, and participated in the silly story whenever possible!
Most of the contestants’ back stories are odd and harmless. With forest fires raging all around the province, the environmentally-minded Great Plains contestant’s dramatic piece felt oddly resonant. On the other hand, some of the jokes around the former pageant winner, who had gained weight, felt decidedly unkind, and showed that the play was written in a less aware time.
Miss Texas really poured on the charm the whole show, and Miss West Coast was impressively sweet and clueless! In the talent portion, Miss Bible Belt knocked her song out of the park. Miss Deep South’s talent was odd, charming, and very well-executed, and Miss Industrial Northwest had me in stitches with her performance. All six of the contestants pulled out the stops to make this portion as silly as possible, and it really got the energy going.
The costumes were flying for the pageant, with evening gowns, sashes, and swimsuits all on display. I was impressed by how tight and smooth all of the technical elements seemed, with a contestant managing one tiny slip-up very well on the night I was watching. Selected members of the audience vote on the contest winners at the end, and this was also managed quickly and smoothly.
Pageant is a great light summer show, full of nonsense and good spirits. Enjoy!