While Bob Edes, Jr. has established himself as one of our area's top performers, there is no doubt that when he dons a dress, there is magic in the air. Some years ago, he won a Big Easy Award for his performance in "I Am My Own Wife," an incredible one-man drama in which he portrayed 40 different characters. While the Running With Scissors current production, "Miss Gulch Returns!" (now playing at Mid City Theater) is decidedly more comedic and witty, it nevertheless gives us an opportunity to view Edes in a dress again and this time we are whisked musically and magically back to the Land of Oz made famous in the MGM film "The Wizard of Oz."
The one-man musical was originally written and performed by Fred Barton back in 1983, but considering it deals with the subject matter of a 1939 film, it holds up remarkably well. In the original work, Barton accompanied himself on piano. As clever as Edes is, a piano man (or woman), he is not . That's why he is accompanied by the very talented Jim Walpole on the ivories.
At first Edes essentially plays himself, a man looking for love in all the wrong places, most especially in the eyes of the lonely, miserly Almira Gulch camped out at the bar. After he is rebuked, and think how lowly that must make him, there is a transformation and we see Almira Gulch in all her splendor.
Edes plays Gulch as a misunderstood character, who really just wants to be loved. There is also a bit of crossover in the character on the film of Gulch and Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played both Almira and the green-skined Wicked Witch of the West. Almira bemoans the fact she didn't get to sing her own song in the movie and gleefully gives it to us. The title says it all: "I'm a B...." Can we just say it rhymes with "witch?"
One of the biggest and most well-known numbers is "Pour Me a Man," a very clever anthem filled with triple shots and double entendres. Edes handles the dialogue and songs as well as he ever does and his impersonation of Almira Gulch wants us to order an Almira Gulch Cocktail: "mostly bitters."
The language is a bit racy and the themes are adult-like, but "Miss Gulch Returns!" is a comic romp for Edes and a nice way to enjoy adult humor in voice, verse and dress.
"Miss Gulch Returns!" plays for the final weekend at Mid City Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at 504-488-1460 or by clicking here.