Don't Act Like a Girl at the Annoyance | Live review
"When I was five years old I told my parents I didn't have a penis." So declares Wes Perry at the top of Don't Act Like a Girl, a worthy new solo show playing Sundays at the Annoyance. The line is meant to imply an act of rebellion against mom and dad, a self-described Rosa Parks moment and the beginning of a defiant youth that proves turbulent (and that's putting it mildly).
Perry grew up in the suburbs of San Diego and, with his large frame, wooly beard and penchant for makeup, is the antithesis of the tanned and svelte Southern Calfornian. But Perry gets by. At an early age he discovers Internet porn via ancient user-generated platforms like Angelfire and GeoCities, attaches himself to a goth crowd and becomes fascinated with a Jewish special ed teacher who doubles as a polyamorous dominatrix. He also becomes deflowered by a Louis Vuitton-swinging bully, comes out to his parents (who are fine with it as long as he doesn't "act like a girl") and gets rejected by his peers while his father circumnavigates a post-September 11 earth reporting on the war on terror. His mother meanwhile trots him around to different shrinks who pump him full of prescription meds including riddlin and lithium. By the time Perry gets shipped off to fat camp, all is not well.
In the age of daytime talk shows and reality TV, homosexuality and a drug problem are hardly eyebrow raising. But under the direction of Tim Paul, Perry employs a few admirable tricks to keep the audience engaged. He's a got a three-piece band on hand and isn't afraid to belt out a montage of pop anthem's like Heart's "Crazy on You," Patsy Cline's "Crazy" or Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" while engaging his pill bottles like they're maracas. By the time of the show's finale, in which Perry describes his role as a show-stopping wicked witch in a school production of The Wiz, 60 minutes have literally flown by and we're applauding this nifty slice of underdog theater.
Don't Act Like a Girl plays Sundays at 9:30pm at the Annoyance Theatre.