Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review: Three Wishes for Jackie

By Michael Block 

Barbara Eden is best known for her iconic role as Jeannie, the 2,000-year-old genie, on the hit 60s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie.” It was a simpler time of punny titles and names. If you’ve been stuck in a bottle yourself, the premise of the show followed the antics and romances of Jeannie and her newfound “master.” This is the jumping off point for I Dream of Jackie, Jackie Cox’s debut solo show at the Laurie Beechman. Jackie becomes her own master as she finds herself out of her bottle and gets to grant herself three wishes.
photo by Michael Block
Using “I Dream of Jeannie” as inspiration, I Dream of Jackie follows Jackie Cox as she gets out of her bottle and into the fabulous real world. With a conglomeration of music including that obvious song about a genie in a bottle by Christina Aguilera and parodies ranging from “Aladdin” songs to “I Speak Six Languages,” Jackie’s whirlwind adventure is a cohesive camp cabaret that leaves you wanting more. And luckily, there’s a sequel in the works. Traveling alongside her back-up boy toys, Blake McIver, playing the sensible one, and Drew Bloom, playing the dimwitted eye candy, Jackie sings and dances her way through this Arabian night. Jackie infuses bright and bubbly into every beat of the show. The text is comical candy. It’s smartly written and could easily be expanded. Though some of the jokes can be seen miles away, they’re nailed to perfection. To cover costume changes, the show incorporated some video but when you have singing secondary characters, giving them “Secondary Characters” to wail on was a brilliant choice. Generally, drag is an art form meant for pure entertainment. Laughs are inevitable. But sometimes when reflection on the world is necessarily, using drag as a platform can be powerful. Jackie incorporated such a moment with a repurposed number from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat accompanied by a look at the current refugee crisis. And it was simply beautiful. To accomplish such a feat in this setting takes immense skill. Jackie and director Blake McIver accomplished it with ease. The piece flowed seamlessly against the lantern backdrop.
Jackie Cox was the secondary character for Paige Turner recently at the Beechman but she triumphantly shined in the starring role. I Dream of Jackie fulfilled more than her three wishes.