Sugar Daddy: Fielding Edlow's New One-Woman Comedy
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Hailed as "the best musical of this century" by Ben Brantley of The New York Times and "the funniest musical of all time" by Entertainment Weekly, The Book of Mormon won nine Tony Awards -- including Best Musical -- in its first year on Broadway. Now the national touring production is back at the Pantages for a second round of hilarity. Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone along with Robert Lopez, the Tony-winning co-creator of Avenue Q, this musical comedy is a show that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has called "a crowning achievement. So good it makes me angry." Learn More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Matthew McLeanRed Velvet
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Disclaimer: I forgot to post this review on here when I originally wrote it for one of my blogs. :o)
I have seen some pretty lousy theater in my time, including some much worse than this small, one-woman show. That said however, this was a painful experience. The writer and star of the show, Fielding Edlow, clearly needs someone else to write for her. A decent actress, the character she created was extremely unpleasant, neurotic, whiny, spoiled, deluded and annoying. And utterly unconvincing.
The audience should be able to understand the character, or at least make sense of the character's personality. This was not the case here at all, as the story is not cohesive (all over the map, and often lacking relevance) and nowhere near enough back story was provided. The audience is left guessing about a lot ( and scratching their heads saying "WTF?" about the rest). Poor character development makes for a frustrating audience experience. We want to get inside the character's head, in fact we sort of have to. This did not happen. I spent most of the show wishing it would end so I could bolt for fresh air. Perhaps Fielding should have focused more on properly developing the characters themselves. This might have resulted in a smaller number of more cohesive/meaningful/clear scenes.
The audience is expecting a witty, possibly dark comedy discussing the Electra complex and cupcakes. What we got was a small, confusing amount of the latter and very little of the former, all wrapped up in an hour-long exercise in how to frustrate and alienate your audience. I think the word "cupcake" is mentioned once or twice in passing, but it has essentially nothing to do with the show. Certainly it should not have been the theme for the poster!
The play is a series of scenes involving the main character's mother, father and psychiatrists/psychologists interacting with her. As the play unfolds, it becomes clear there is a love-hate relationship with the father, but hardly a genuine Electra complex (one gets the feeling the writer knew fairly little about the actual condition itself), a confusing/frustrating relationship with the mother (I remember nothing of it really--it was in no way memorable), and absolutely no relationship whatsoever with the variety of psychiatric counselors she sees. There was a sense the patient had no idea why she was seeing a shrink, and moreover, did not care why. Absolutely no progress was ever made with any of them. No revelations, no valuable insight, nothing but a series of meaningless, disjointed conversations with the therapists. In other words, why were the scenes even included in the play? They literally served no purpose. If they would have helped to develop the character, fine--the did not. She could have stood up and said, "I am a selfish deluded bitch" and saved us at least twenty minutes of torture. No further explanation into why she is this way was derived from the sessions.
One is left wondering what the point of the story actually was. Nothing about before, during or after the events of the story was explained clearly, and nothing of significance ever actually happens at any point. Oh wait--she moved from New York to Los Angeles. Exciting stuff.
However, what really killed this for me was the utterly unlikeable, and wholly unbelievable character we were forced to spend an hour of our lives with. She was mean, selfish, self-centered, self-serving, and self-everything-else-you-can-think-of. Total turn-off. The only interesting facet of her character is her poorly-explained (read: not at all) eating disorder. This only comes to light in the last few minutes of the play, wherein it becomes the focal point. It seems as though the writer did all this research about OA and then wrote a scene containing as many technically-relevant OA terms as possible in an effort to impress upon the viewer that the character was attending this 12-step Program. Why she was there, we have no idea. Who she actually was remains a mystery for this viewer--one I wish to remain unsolved as I have absolutely no desire to get to know her better.
If you are considering buying tickets for this, I would advise you not to waste your time and money.Stay home and find something on TV or perhaps lose yourself in a good book instead.
2-stars: one for the actor's enthusiasm and the solid direction, and one for it being mercifully short.
Quotes & Highlights
“[Edlow is a] gifted scripter.” —Daily Variety
“Edlow’s dialogue bounces between razor-sharp and languid, creating a weird uneasiness… a female response to LaBute.” -LA Weekly
“Edlow has a knack for writing, and this script is impeccably humorous. She captures perfect moments of insanity in a woman’s life while somehow remaining honest and lovable.” -_Campus Circle _
“Edlow’s sharp tongue and sapient wit are evident … she is clearly fierce competition in the comedy-writing world.” - _Examiner.com _
“As sweet as meringue” – _EyeSpy LA _
“Even in the most slashing, vicious, offensive, foul-mouthed attacks, the audience laughs … Laughter and cupcakes. What could be sweeter than that?”-_Socal.com _
Wickedly funny, incisive and hip, Fielding Edlow’s newest comedy chronicles one woman’s epic battle with frosty cupcakes (not vegan), breaking up with Daddy, and learning to stand the sound of her own heartbeat. Paul Stein directs.
“I’m interested in developing the idea of a character with an Electra complex,” explains Edlow, whose previous plays include NYC Fringe Festival ‘Best of Fringe’ winner _Coke-Free J.A.P. and T_he Something-Nothing (“GO!” – LA Weekly).
“I feel like so much has been done with the Oedipal complex. In Sugar Daddy, my character regales the audience with tales from the Daddy crypt and gold medal Olympic binging.”
Fielding Edlow, a native New Yorker, has had her plays produced/workshopped in New York and Los Angeles with Naked Angels, NY Stage & Film, PSNBC, Dixon Place, The Culture Project, NY Fringe Festival and Home for Contemporary Arts. Her one-woman show, Coke-Free J.A.P., was performed in the NYC Fringe Festival and received the “Best of Fringe" award from Back Stage. It subsequently premiered in L.A, where it had a four-month, sold-out run at the McCadden Theatre with director Craig Carlisle. Her play Admissions was a semi-finalist in Reverie Productions’ 2008 Next Generation Playwriting Contest and was workshopped at NY Stage & Film, Naked Angels, and with Circle X Theatre Company. The Something-Nothing was produced by the Mineral Theatre Co. in Los Angeles last season to critical acclaim.
Paul Stein’s recent directing credits include: W. Kamau Bell’s The Bell Curve: Ending Racism in an Hour at PS 122 in New York City; Antonio Sacre’s My Penis: In and Out of Trouble at Theatre Asylum in Hollywood; and Carla Snowden’s Girl Overboard at both the Hollywood Fringe and Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas. Currently, Paul holds the position of Artistic Director of the Comedy Central Stage, a development theater sponsored by the network.