Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Festival Theatre, June 19
Review by Honey B
Kathy Najimy is still forging her own path in the entertainment industry and what a remarkable road it is.The movie star, director/producer and proud feminist debuted her personal show, Lift Up Your Skirt, at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival last night (June 19) and she had the audience hanging off of every word.Najimy was the first to admit that the piece was still a work in progress, one which she plans to take to the New York stage.Before the larger than life actress even stepped onto the stage we were treated to a video montage of her considerable work which included movies Hocus Pocus and Sister Act, television series Desperate Housewives, Veronica's Closet and her groundbreaking feminist show for HBO, the Kathy and Mo Show.The imagery proved to be a lengthy opening and Najimy joked that she need not do any more "that's our night'' before apologising and saying she ''didn't sing''.Well she certainly does and did sing and Najimy cheekily belted out a bit of Maybe This Time and then switched to a bit of musical theatre with Wicked's Popular.The slimmed down star went on to work out what her show could be - a triumph over adversity and she ran through some fictitious and hilarious themes.Thankfully she settled on the truth and we were catapulted into Najimy's teen adoration of Bette Midler - who gave Najimy the sage advice of "do your own thing Kathy, do your own''.This series of stalker-like stories were unbelievable and brilliant. Her horror at Richard Pryor's homophobic gay rights rant at the Hollywood Bowl set the scene and the ball in motion for Najimy's first meeting with Midler.She held the audience enthralled with her passion and honesty and her second meeting with Midler was pure gold and seemingly led to Midler's turn as a singing bunny in Beaches. Najimy's comic timing was brilliant, but then Najimy took another turn and showed her feminist side with a sketch from Kathy and Mo.Sitting behind a music stand she turned into Auntie Maddie (who is based on Najimy's favourite aunt) and she brought her feminist comedy piece to life.It was a moving, insightful piece as the hushed audience listened to Aunt Maddie's wise words - but unfortunately the piece went for a little too long and Najimy was a bit hidden behind the music stand.While Najimy idolised the independent path Midler forged and the performer has certainly achieved this herself, she reflected upon how many people want to be her.Instead of wanting to be someone else, Najimy wants people to celebrate being themselves - to lift up their skirts and show their whole, true selves to the world and not to hide a thing.With that the brave Najimy lifted her skirt and won our hearts.