As Wendy Westerwelle tells it, Jewish mothers would make great drug pushers. “What do you mean you don’t want the crack?” she asks, slack-jawed. “I’ve been slaving over the stove cooking crystal meth all day!” This sort of humor—simultaneously incisive and borderline outlandish—characterizes much of 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother
, based on more than 50 interviews and co-written by comedian Judy Gold and playwright Kate Moira Ryan. Gold performed 25 Questions
as a solo act, but at Triangle Productions it’s been reimagined as a two-woman show. Ritah Parrish plays Gold, and the throaty-voiced Westerwelle, with the help of an endless succession of hats and scarves (including a sequined newsboy cap, a red crushed-velvet cloche and a glittery leopard-print scarf), plays the various Jewish mothers. It’s a mostly smooth conceit, with Parrish delivering her personal narrative directly to the audience—in a few affecting moments, her character grapples with whether to tell Orthodox interviewees that she’s gay—and Westerwelle reveling in her own scenery chewing. Some of Westerwelle’s impersonations are more effective than others: She produces laughs while defending her interference in her children’s romantic lives, but her outsize persona drowns the more dramatic vignettes. Parrish, too, is more comfortable in the comic moments, which makes for a show with little dramatic payoff but many a lighthearted crack.
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