"Drinking" is terrific fun with Carrie Fisher

Mon Oct 5, 2009 11:33pm EDT
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By Frank Scheck

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - If anyone has amassed enough material for a tell-all one-person show, it's Carrie Fisher.

In "Wishful Drinking," running at New York's Studio 54 through January 3, the actress-writer relates in alternately harrowing and hilarious fashion her pedigree as the offspring of two major show business stars; her addictions to booze and drugs; her failed marriages to singer Paul Simon and Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd, the latter of whom left her for another man; her struggles with bipolar disorder; her best friend's dying in her bed while she was sleeping next to him; and, of course, her iconic role as Princess Leia in the original "Star Wars" trilogy.

And that's not even a complete list.

With such books and screenplays as "Postcards From the Edge" and "Surrender the Pink," Fisher has demonstrated an ability to translate her travails into entertaining fiction. This show, adapted from her memoir, makes no attempt to whitewash her biography.

Beginning and ending the proceedings with ironic renditions of "Happy Days are Here Again," Fisher manages to make extreme dysfunction wildly entertaining.

For this Broadway run of a show that premiered three years ago at the Geffen Playhouse before numerous engagements nationally, she even incorporates Studio 54 to comic effect. "I think I've been here before," she says, pointing out the balcony where people used to have sex and the basement where people ingested illegal substances.

She takes pains to make the audience part of the action, inviting questions about the experience of waking up next to a dead person and comically singling out several patrons for particular attention.

She begins the evening with her childhood, saying she was born to "simple folk" and describing her show as a "pathetic bid for the attention I lacked as a newborn." She then brings out a flow chart detailing her complex lineage, pointing out that Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor were the Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie of their day.   Continued...