She's Out Of Control
UCB's "Showgirls" parody star gets a showcase for
a gamut of characters.
Parham, in and out of character as "Sandy Michaelson."
In her new solo sketch comedy show, Lennon Parham, an improv performer
in the UCB Theatre’s Reuben Williams group, and previously The Shoves (see
feature), as well as the star of the theater’s 2006 parody of
“Showgirls,” (see review) gets to do
wildly disparate characters, each of which she gives more depth and
specific heightened comedic traits than she could show playing Nomi
In “She Tried To Be Normal,” seen March 26, and returning at least twice
more in April, Parham frames segments featuring six different characters
with yet another character, a spacey overnight radio DJ, Forsythia,
reading listener letters and dispensing bad advice. It’s an effective
device, as some of the letters come from characters that Parham soon
conjures up in person.
Parham’s two most vivid characters in the show, a country singer with a
tale of woe that outdoes anyone else in the genre, and a hapless stuck
in the 1980s dance instructor, win this distinction because her writing
of these characters’ segments heightens and tops their outlandishness
with nearly every line.
The pieces of Parham’s show are partly put together through a complex
succession of music cues, stemming from the Forsythia character’s
segments, and that is all well-directed and produced. Additionally,
Parham makes great use of the UCB stage and space as another character,
a co-ed who becomes obsessed with a professor, stalking offstage and
yelling threats from out of view. She also gets to show off singing
chops in another piece, playing a 1950s housewife -- but also deploying
that same hair-trigger insanity to show all is not as easy as it might
At a point or two, Parham’s voice was a little too low and didn’t
project enough, and perhaps just one of the pieces in the show seemed a
little disjointed, but overall, she delivers more than enough to earn an
extended standing ovation at this performance.
“She Tried To Be Normal” returns to the UCB Theatre April 16 and 30.