Pitch Blonde

by Ottawa Fringe

June 21, 2009

Judy Holliday won an Oscar for the 1950 film Born Yesterday. The Brooklyn-born actress probably deserved one for her performance before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s communist-seeking inquisitors, too, at least according to Laura Harris. Harris plays the blonde with the outsized IQ in an appealing, if episodic, one-woman show that revolves around Holliday’s testimony during the 1950s communist witchhunt. By playing dumb, Holliday avoided naming the communist sympathizers she clearly knew. Harris integrates flashbacks of Holliday’s life into the central event to create a portrait of a principled woman with an advanced sense of irony. Despite the show’s humour, commitment and other strengths, one is left unsatisfied, as if Harris has crammed too much into it. At Academic Hall until June 27.