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Letting It All Hang Out

Cheryl King mines an amused perspective on her days as "not a nice girl."

If catharsis can come from good comedy, Cheryl King proves that the reverse also works, eliciting laughs from cathartic autobiographical material in “not a nice girl,” her show that runs twice more in February, as one of the premiere productions of Stage Left Studio.

The crux of the story of Carol Ann Kincaid, the doppelganger protagonist, who suffers incestuous abuse as a child and a loveless marriage much later in life, is that she feels beholden to the desire to please other people, but journeys over the course of the show until she becomes, as she puts it, “no man’s territory” and finds the power she has within.

This journey has a lot to do with sex of course, but King’s show doesn’t go astray in the sexual content. That has to be there to depict where the fear or shame comes from and what she has to overcome.

King has the acting skill to distinctly portray other characters in this story with only a change of voice and expression. In her writing, she hits some resonant moments over the course of the story, like when she recalls the ex-husband wanting “to have and to hold” her rather than being her “playmate.”

Some of the funniest moments in the show come from King’s particular critique of religion in her own upbringing, portraying God as comically frustrated with her naiveté around age 20 when she got pregnant.

By the show’s end the drama and the comedy have come together well, showing Carol Ann surviving the difficult events in her story in no small part because of her ability to be bemused at these circumstances.

“not a nice girl” has two more performances at Stage Left Studio, 438 West 37th St., on Sunday, February 12 and Saturday, February 18.




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