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REVIEW: 5 to 9

August 2, 2017 5:00 am0 commentsViews: 259
Peaches Christ, Ryan Landry, Varla Jean Merman and Larry Coen in 5 to 9.

Peaches Christ, Ryan Landry, Varla Jean Merman and Larry Coen in 5 to 9.

by Steve Desroches

Provincetown is often put in a unique position. As a beautiful beach side town with a booming nightlife, tourists come by the thousands to relax, have fun, and forget about the real world for a little while. As Henry David Thoreau said about a visit to the Cape tip, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.” And with the current state of affairs in our country, it’s easy to see why someone would want to do so. But Provincetown also has a long history of activism, and for every visitor that wants an escape, there are those who expect the town and its creative community to respond to the issues of the day. It’s a hard, fine line to walk for the stage shows in Provincetown, as from night to night you never know what your audiences may want. But 5 to 9, a new play written by Ryan Landry, who also co-stars with Peaches Christ and Varla Jean Merman, is a ferocious political parody that is the perfect mix.

It’s based, of course, on the classic 1980 film 9 to 5 where characters played by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton get their revenge on their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot” of a boss.  The film proved to be prophetic, as we have a real life Mr. Hart as President. While the references to the source material is apparent and satisfying, 5 to 9 goes in wild directions as the drag trio portrays White House secretaries who have had quite enough of the Cheeto in Chief. Each finds their place marked by the original performances and then springboards into the satirical ether with deliciously raunchy camp and glitter guerilla resistance. 5 to 9 does not offer an olive branch to the Trumpsters, but a middle finger to the dumpster of deplorables.

Celebrated actor and frequent star of Gold Dust Orphan productions Larry Coen presents a Trump that is as despicable as he is comedically childlike, like the kid you hate, who kicks the back of your seat on an airplane. How do you lampoon a man who is a caricature of himself to begin with? Coen figures it out as he adds layers of blunt-force nuance to a man that in real life might as well be two-dimensional. And it’s a theatrical makeup achievement that they landed upon the right shade of “angry creamsicle” for Coen’s transformation to the Donald.  Gold Dust Orphan superstar Penny Champayne adds the connective tissue to 5 to 9, portraying multiple characters, including the red, white, and blue nightmare Kellyanne Conway, the “model”/First Lady Melania Trump, and handbag designer and presidential stand-in, Ivanka. Champayne puts the punctuation marks on every dig, joke, and slam, of which 5 to 9 is chock full. If you think Kathy Griffin crossed a line – and loved it – 5 to 9 is for you. Now run and see it before the Secret Service shuts it down!

5 to 9 is performed at the Art House, 214 Commercial St., Provincetown, every Friday and Saturday through September 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($30 general/$40 for VIP) are available at the box office and online at ptownarthouse.com. For more information call 508.487.9222.