Next Act’s Sparkling Political Satire
‘The Taming’ furnishes top talent and pertinent discourse
Next Act Theatre’s production of Lauren Gunderson’s The Taming is a brilliant blend of comedy and political discourse. The premise: On the eve of the Miss America Pageant, Miss Georgia kidnaps two women from opposite ends of the political spectrum to convince them to aid in her plan to restructure the U.S. Constitution. Sexual and partisan tension abounds between the three fine Milwaukee actresses who bring the story to life under David Cecsarini’s direction.
Marti Gobel is marvelous as Patricia, a prominent aide to a powerful, womanizing Republican senator. Confident in her ability to pass legislation that actually benefits the public, she enters the action complacent in her role as the power behind a corrupt throne. Per her usual, Gobel delivers a ferocious character arc.
Sara Zientek plays Bianca, a hard left-leaning blogger with 2 million followers and the drive to do anything necessary to bring down Patricia’s senator. In Zientek’s hands, Bianca is a spitfire activist—perhaps even a “factionist”—with considerably more creativity and moxie than the other two anticipate upon first meeting her.
Finally, Bree Beelow is radiant and sassy as Katherine, aka Miss Georgia. She shows off her marvelous singing voice in several pageant talent segments and adeptly embodies the role of a Southern belle with tremendous intellect and courage who has to fight hard to overcome society’s perception of her as a simpleminded sex object.
Next Act’s wonderful production does much to remind us of America’s “discursive foundations” and the value of airing opposing viewpoints to refine ideas, recognize one another’s humanity and facilitate good governance.
Through Oct. 23 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For tickets, call 414-278-0765 or visit nextact.org.