BIG PEOPLE LITTLE PEOPLE, at Victory Gardens Theater. Early in her one-woman show, Sally Edwards–homemaker and mother of three–tells us she thinks she’s been spending too much time with her “little people.” She’s right. But that isn’t what’s wrong with Big People Little People; in fact, her strongest material has to do with “mommy anomie,” the unreal feeling adults get when they spend all their time with children.
What’s wrong with this tiresome hybrid show–half performance piece, half stand-up routine–is that most of Edwards’s TV and pop-culture material is pretty mundane: do we really need another parody of Sally Jessy Raphael? And Edwards is not a very vivid performer, though she’s fine in five- or ten-minute doses. Parts of her show are even rather sweet, in a trapped-in-the-suburbs kind of way, especially when she’s talking about such universal challenges as potty training or having a reasonable conversation with a preschooler.
But as the show drags on, it becomes clear Edwards doesn’t have the stage presence yet to hold an audience for 85 minutes. After a while even her more pointed observations about family life begin to sound like warmed-over Erma Bombeck bits, as when she tries desperately, in true Bombeck style, to stretch an incident in which her son dropped his toothbrush in the toilet into two minutes of material. –Jack Helbig