Stage Review

Dirty Tricks (2004 - 2004)


Details Opening Date: Oct 20, 2004; Lead Performance: Judith Ivey; Writer: John Jeter

Channeling Watergate whistleblower Martha ''Mouth of the South'' Mitchell, stage vet Judith Ivey hams handily, often poignantly, as the boozy spouse of Attorney General John Mitchell — the lady who proved old-fashioned, all-American gossip and eavesdropping could over-match electronic paranoia and Nixonian black-bag bullying. Ivey pinballs Mitchell's clanging-brass complexities — her prom-queen conservatism versus her ornery, instinctual libertarianism — off every corner of the crumbling bedroom set. Too bad, then, that John Jeter's script resists pitting Mitchell's waning illusions against true darkness, taking more interest in the larger-than-life than the lifelike. The resultant cuh-luh-ful quality, against a backdrop of grainy newsreels, makes Dirty Tricks feel a bit like drag night with the Capitol Steps.

Originally posted Oct 29, 2004 Published in issue #790 Oct 29, 2004 Order article reprints

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