Laura Bush made cowboy cookies. She also killed a guy. Both disparate statements are true and each forms the basis for Ian Allen’s warped comedy, Laura Bush Killed A Guy, playing through this weekend at The Flea Theater. The solo show marks the New York premiere from the DC-based theater company, The Klunch.
In her teenage years, the former first lady ran a stop sign in her native town of Midland, Texas, claiming the life of her friend Michael Dalton Douglas. The tragedy became a punchline for television’s The Family Guy. “I don’t care for the show, but George loooooves it and watches it all the time and laughs and laughs,” says Lisa Hodsoll (as Bush) in the one woman production.
The 90 minute, intermissionless piece is divided into three parts: Perdition, Sedition, and Contrition. In each act, Bush recalls the same tragic event with different points of view, leaving audiences to question intent and truthfulness.
On the lighter side, she recites the famous recipe for her prize worthy baked goods. Family Circle magazine conducted a contest for presidential wives. “I had the good fortune of going up against Tipper Gore and then Teresa Heinz Kerry, so of course, I won both times,” she explains. Audiences have the added bonus of sampling the treats.
Hodsoll is wonderfully entertaining and delivers Allen’s witty script with a healthy dose of heart, humor, and pathos. Some of the playwright’s material is based on truth, other parts are pure fiction. Debating the differences will likely occur once the curtain falls, but few should argue Allen’s skillful knack for satire.
Laura Bush Killed A Guy is a pleasant and painful stroll down memory lane. Politically, many left-wingers held the Bush administration in contempt. If only we knew then what would come, we may have been less critical.
Laura Bush Killed A Guy runs through July 8 at The Flea Theater (20 Thomas Street NYC) for tickets and information, click here.