SOTTO VOCE, written by Robert Riemer and directed by Zombie Joe, is the story of Wendy, a fresh-faced, bleary-eyed redhead, who’s condemned to a medieval type convent by her beastly mother. The mother clearly has a grudge, castigating her daughter for being a slut. But through a series of hallucinations of her father and brother, we learn that Wendy was a victim of sexual abuse.
The play packs a punch, and Zombie Joe is adept at making the audience simultaneously creeped-out and entertained. Of course a cast that can handle the buoyantly weighted material is essential because Zombie Joe does not shy away from anything. The audience should brace itself for a disturbing moment of partial nudity, which Vanessa Cate as Wendy delivers with tasteful vulnerability.
As a wacky sapphic sister, Heather Roberts’ Patsy complements Cate’s woeful Wendy. Her performance, along with Brenda Marlene Uribe as the campy Mother Superior, brings sweet comic relief to an otherwise dark and twisted play. Watching a Zombie Joe production is akin to seeing a Todd Solodnz film. That is, it’s not for everyone; the material is sordid; but you’re guaranteed to laugh. As such, SOTTO VOCE definitely doesn’t end on a whisper. It goes out with a bang.
Running through June 11, Saturdays at 8:30PM