Dixie’s ‘Tube-Top’ dazzles Mason Street Warehouse
SAUGATUCK, Mich.–Forget about the mechanical bull; Dixie Longate has a tiger by the tail in her latest one-woman comedy routine, and she has no intention of letting go of the rampaging beast.
You may remember the red-headed, drag-queen Dixie as the foul-mouth Tupperware Lady who visited Mason Street Warehouse a few years back. This summer Kris Andersson’s high-heeled character is back at the Saugatuck theater taking care of a Mobile, Alabama, bar for a vacationing friend and serving up her hilarious homespun platitudes, such as “what the world needs is way more happy hours.”
Like its non-stop title, Dixie’s Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I Learned While I Was Drinking Last Thursday, the show prattles on for 90 minutes covering everything from a critique of the Beatles’ hit “Ticket to Ride” to the merits of Moonpies. Talking fast enough to make a New Yorker dizzy, Dixie soon has the audience wrapped around her finger as she slaps name tags on some, invites guests up on stage to play games, and chats one-on-one with friendly faces in the crowd.
Just when the pace starts to drag a bit she gets everyone up on their feet and clapping to the beat for a pair of “60-second Honky-Tonks” of country music and boisterous dancing.
Although Andersson’s script includes several funny lines, much of the humor is in the delivery. Dixie has one of the longest, most lascivious tongues that she laps frequently to imitate a cat cleaning itself or just to accent a provocative line. And her speedy southern accent would make a recitation of the phone book funny. One of her funniest bits is when she gets excited and stutters “and, and, and” or starts reciting mother’s advice on “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free” but gets everything jumbled and backwards.
Unfortunately some of the bits are flaming failures, such as a line about shaking a baby to death that left the room in stunned silence. But to Andersson’s credit Dixie steers clear of mentioning anything political or referring to current events, which makes the evening a pleasant escape.
Although the language is rough in spots, the comedy was not as off-color as I feared. In fact, Dixie displays a lot more homespun heart and sincerity than I was expecting.
The basic bar setting designed by Lisa Orzolek features perfect posters and wall hangings to set the mood as well as plenty of Christmas lights to dress up the décor. An off-limits mock-up of a mechanical bull holds a prominent post in the middle of the room. The opening set is dressed with a collection of dirty clothes and empty beer bottles that give Dixie a clean-up task to get the conversation started.
Charles MacLeod’s lighting design gets a real workout as a hurricane threatening Mobile keeps the electricity flashing on and off, and Dixie’s forays into the audience demand house lights going up and down as needed.
Dixie shares a lot of her life philosophy, including lessons related to riding a mechanical bull which she simulates often with jerky hip action while holding a swaying drink in the air. Don’t hold on with both hands, she advises. You’ve gotta let go and have fun. As for the tube top reference, Dixie says we need to accept the fact that sometimes in life your boobs are going to fall out, and we need to learn how to keep going when they do.
She also suggests that we can improve any story by adding a tiger to it, and gives several examples before the night is over.
But the real tiger in this tale is Dixie.