"Last Call," now playing at Fort Lauderdale’s Empire Stage, is a charming tour de force written by and starring Terri Girvin. It’s a fun evening of comedy and pathos all expertly directed by Michael Leeds.
Girvin is a stand-up comic, actress, and bartender and her autobiographical play takes us into her world populated by all different kinds of patrons and a mother who is a little bit more than eccentric. Episodes at the bar are punctuated by phone calls from her mother and other family members.
Girvin’s mother is the perennial flower child, a woman who doesn’t realize that normal people don’t leave the house each day in clown makeup, tap shoes, and carrying an accordion. Now homeless in her declining years, Girvin’s mother wants to come live with her daughter in New York, after having pushed the limits with all of her other family members.
The phone calls punctuate the stressful bartending shift that Girvin has at a small NYC pub. Girvin frequently plays either herself or her mother with voice-overs that portray the patrons or family members.
"Last Call" has numerous sound effects that are used to set the mood and tone of the show as well as providing the voices for the other characters. These are used quite effectively, but my theater companion was occasionally confused as to who was who; especially when Girvin would switch back and forth between playing herself and her mother.
The show runs 70-odd minutes without an intermission. Girvin is fantastically charismatic and manages to completely capture her audience from the moment she steps onto the stage. She is charming and funny with a twinkle in her eye and a sparkle to her voice.
My only complaint about the show is that the script seems a little unfinished. I was left wanting something more although I would be hard pressed to define what it is that is missing. Regardless, it is a very enjoyable show and seeing Girvin perform makes up for anything else.
"Last Call" runs through May 6 at Empire Stage, 1140 North Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale. For info or tickets visit www.empirestage.com.