Practically every gay guy knows someone just like Gerry, a fast-talking, flamboyant — no, make that flaming — queen with a quick quip for every occasion.
He’s the life of the party, but one too many cocktails — or some party favors — and he easily crosses the line from campy to cruel.
And by the time he arrives in Palm Springs for the wedding of Brennan and Joshua, Gerry is already wound up and ready to unleash laughs and later havoc. The reason? Brennan’s hoity-toity mother has dictated on the invitation that guests “refrain from bright colors and bold patterns.”
This is the premise of Drew Droege’s one-man comedy, “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns,” which opened last weekend at Island City Stage and stars Thomas Mark.
Gerry quickly unloads memorable gay zingers to his former boyfriend Dwayne and his 23-year-old boyfriend Mack and no topic is spared his wrath, especially as the liquor starts to flow.
He lights into the traffic on the I-10, Coachella hippies and especially Queen Latifah: “She shoulda been a dyke with a message. But, instead, she turned into a clown in a wig for guilty white people.”
On the pastel and palm tree bedazzled patio (designed by Jodi Dellaventura): “This place looks like if Trina Turk and Betsey Johnson threw up Bacardi Razz. And sold it to Target … Look baby, only in Palm Springs can you find entire kitchens made out of rattan.”
After citing iconic lines from “Steel Magnolias,” “Golden Girls” and “Designing Women,” Gerry digs to Dwayne about his twink boyfriend: “Like we don’t just reference the ‘90s, honey, we remember the ‘90s.”
Gerry righteously justifies all this bitchiness: “Honey, listen, we celebrate things and make fun of them at the same time. That is called ‘Gay.’”
This is all before the pitcher of margaritas and the blow start to kick in. That’s when Gerry really opens up about what’s really bugging him. Turns out he’s living in a glass house of his own making and it’s not hurricane impact grade like we have in South Florida.
Mark, under the watchful eye of director Michael Leeds, cleanly navigates 37-pages of manic dialogue and the two-act, one hour and 45-minute evening with Gerry flies by. Even though Gerry rarely leaves the villa patio, Mark clearly leads him on a journey of unexpected self-awareness and eventual truth by the time the hungover friends depart for the big event the next afternoon.
Unlike many traditional one-man shows that break the fourth wall and include the audience, this play does not, leaving Gerry only to interact with unseen characters and carefully responding with dialogue that enlightens the conversation. While not as lean budgetarily, it would have been even more engaging had Droege conceived the play with the real cast of four actors. In any case, the entertaining evening with Gerry still flies by as the queen holds court on this unforgettable occasion.
And never forget Gerry’s fashion manifesto: “No bright colors or bold patterns is Laura Ashley for ‘God hates fags.’” Avoid the beige at all costs, this production certainly does.
Island City Stage, 2304 N. Dixie Hwy. in Wilton Manors, presents Drew Droege’s “Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” through June 20. Some performances are mask optional. Tickets are $35 at IslandCityStage.org.