Fringe Reviews # 2: Wit and Wrath: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker

Woman at typewriter in 1950s clothing Claudia Baumgarten in WIT & WRATH: The Life & Times of Dorothy Parker // PHOTO CREDIT: Cheryl Gerber

Written and performed by Claudia Baumgarten.

Life is an endless cycle of song, A medley of extemporanea. Love is a thing that can never go wrong, And I am Marie of Romania.

Dorothey Parker’s sharp tongue and deadly wit made her famous in her lifetime, which was no small thing for a woman at the start of the 20th century. In Wit and Wrath: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker, Claudia Baumgarten did embody the insouciant writer with grace, humour, and energy. She related Parker’s trials, tribulations, and triumphs very realistically. In fact I was caught off guard when Baumgarten came out to the audience, introduced herself as Mrs. Dorothy Parker and proceeded to hand out programmes.

It was a delight to hear all the reasons why the great Parker hated men, then to hear equally delightful reasons for hating women. The narrative hit a slight bumpy stretch when Parker had a meltdown by a telephone. I would have recommended adding some of her famous one liners or zingers while awaiting the ring of the call. My favourite is a “round table” legend: when asked to enhance a nursery rhyme Parker was handed “Higglety pigglety my black hen, She lays eggs for gentlemen.” After only a moments’ hesitation Parker wrote, “But neither rope nor lariat, would make her lay for the proletariat!”

If you see only one show at the Fringe, this is the one which will make you laugh while you cringe and try to remember the best lines while you Fringe.

Wit and Wrath: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker is part of the Montreal Fringe Festival and is playing at The Mission Santa Cruz (60 Rachel O) on June 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16. Info on the show HERE and info on all the Fringe shows HERE.

Other reviews related to the Fringe Festival: The Fringe is Upon us, The Kid Was a Spy.