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comedy · bill ratner · Ages 8+ · family friendly · world premiere · United States

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June 24, 2014 certified reviewer

My overall impression

I haven’t had this much fun with Barbie since the days(Junior High, I believe)that I hot-glued steel wool to her armpits and pelvis-central, then switched her head with Ken’s. But these guys are not just playin’around. In an engaging performance as sibling rivals in a family toy merchandising enterprise, Ratner and Wilcox embody the plasticity of these iconic figures in all their male v female glory. In 1993, the Barbie Liberation Organization(BLO)staged a gender-bending voice-box switcheroo upon these innocent toys in department stores, making “Barbie talk tough while GI Joe went shopping.” (Firestone, David, NY Times,Dec 12 1993). Just as the BLO punctuates this performance like a Wagnerian chorus, so does this true life theatrical adventure tell the tale of post-war America, its values and its heresy. It lifts the kimono of expectations for both gender identification AND material success passed from parents to offspring across generations. But it also lifts the spirits with a vibrant wink-wink-nod-nod “paen to the pain” of conformity that we have all experienced regardless of our uptake. As the new Barbie solo-preneur doll takes on the highly marketable Internet of Things, we’ll only have more ways to be connected with our role models, so hop into your Barbie convertible,soon-to-be-powered by Google and high-tail it to this show. And do take the time to step up to the stage afterwards for a close-up look at Aleka Corwin’s artful arrangement of the darling little beauty-cum-action figures, fully accessorized. I dare you to find any Brillo!

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