Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review: Kathy Najimy 'Lift Up Your Skirt' - Adelaide Festival Theatre (19.06.14)

Kathy Najimy Kathy Najimy

Best known for her roles in such Hollywood hits as Sister Act and Hocus Pocus, along with the almost forgotten 90’s sitcom Veronica's Closet, Kathy Najimy brings her semi-autobiographical solo show Lift Up Your Skirt to Adelaide before it opens on the stages of New York.

Kathy starts the show by letting you know all the things that her one woman show is not going to be. It will not be about overcoming cancer, it will not be about struggles with body image, it will not be about her poisonous relationship with her mother and it will not be about coming to terms with a deeply denied homosexuality. In short, it will not be about the subjects that a majority of one woman shows seemed destined to be about; these are not her stories. What it will be is a selection of tales and observations from the life of a woman who spent her childhood utterly obsessed with Bette Middler and who grew up to become a celebrated actress and outspoken activist.

There are many great aspects of this show; some hilarious, others deeply moving. Najimy moves between a range of themes, using props, accents and music to keep things flowing and upbeat; there really isn’t a dull moment here. She shares hysterical details about what it was like to grow up as an overweight Lebanese girl in a poor family in San Diego. Anecdotes of how her passionate adoration of Bette Middler played such a large role throughout her entire life are both ridiculous and stirring and are true homage to the notion of visualization as part of living your dreams.

Known as an outspoken feminist and activist for human and gay rights, Najimy incorporates these ideals into her performance with great ease and these touching moments are without a doubt the highlight of the show. She has a charmed way of blending sorrowful realities with clever wit and humour that would make even the most right-winged conservative feel a sense of shame towards the mistreatment of minorities. One particular monologue dedicated to her aunt is a haunting testament to the ridiculous inequality of the denial of gay marriage, and this segment alone was well worth the standing ovation by many at the end of the show.

Kathy Najimy is a gorgeous, sassy powerhouse of a woman and Lift Up Your Skirt is a smart, entertaining and must-see show. Thrilled to witness this fabulous performance before our North American counterparts, there is no doubt that Najimy will be revelling in the success of this performance from shore to shore.