Sloppy Bonnie: A Roadkill Musical for the Modern Chick is a tongue-in-cheek visit to the honky-tonk South, slyly ironic from its title to its Country-Western song pastiches by Barry Brinegar.
Written by Krista Knight and Brinegar, Sloppy Bonnie follows its title character (played with irresistible zest by Amanda Disney) as she lays waste to everything and everyone in her path, leaving car wrecks and bodies spread across the South.
Two exuberant actors, Curtis Reed and James Rudolph II, portray all the other characters—male and female—beginning with zippy “cosmic” FM radio hosts, Chauncey and Dr. Rob, who deliver homey philosophy and songs.
They introduce Bonnie, clad in a slightly slutty outfit—revealing blouse, ridiculously short skirt and white patent leather boots (by Alex Sargent Capps, Megan Haase and Gabrielle Saliba)—straight out of Li’l Abner which is an apt reference as the entire physical production is presented as a brightly colored cartoon with elaborate framings, abstract designs and hilarious manipulations of the actual performers’ appearances.
The two observe as Bonnie, fortified by her Starbuck Pumpkin Latte, gets into her pink Chevy Nova to surprise her fiancé, preacher in training Jedidiah (Reed). As she travels, Jesus (Rudolph)—yes, Jesus!—gets into her car leading to a wonderful takeoff of C&W religious kitsch: “Jesus Riding Shotgun.”
All of Bonnie’s songs are winners including: “You Might Call Me Basic,” sung while awaiting her best friend Sissy (Reed) at Starbucks; “Let’s Address the Nativity Chicken,” a bizarrely silly memory from her youth; and the angry “You Don’t Get to Ghost Me,” sung to Jedidiah when she discovers his flagrant gallivanting around with other chicks.
En route she is forced to hitch a ride with a truck driver (Rudolph) who has an unfortunate end as do others who get in her way.
Her confrontation with Jedidiah leads to a guest appearance by the Devil (Rudolph, particularly funny) and ends with the three main characters morphing into non-human form, a fittingly illogical conclusion to a musical play that constantly charges in all directions from romance to road trip to Grand Ole Opry, finishing with a winking moral.
As directed by Leah Lowe, Bonnie’s energy never flags with all three actors giving their all. They were all on the same wavelength from beginning to end.
Filmed in Nashville before a live audience at Oz Arts, Bonnie was illuminated and designed by Phillip Frank with the occasional bits of choreography (including the Chicken coda) by Gabrielle Saliba and expert videography by Gonzalez Media Productions.
Sloppy Bonnie: A Roadkill Musical for the Modern Chick (streaming June 21-July 15, 2021)
No Puppet Co (Krista Knight and Barry Brinegar)
For tickets, visit http://www.sloppybonnie.com
Running time: 90 minutes