The play, taking place in a strip joint, is emceed by Eelie (Illana Levine), a ditzy dancer with a heart of gold. She intros three co-workers, who each reenact a tale of woe about the men who “done them wrong,” in the hopes they will conjure the spirit of Elvis from a mountain of dirt they have built downstage.
The stories express various degrees of suburban terror. Karen (Anneliza Scott) tells of futile attempts to regain the attentions of her postman husband Jerry (Jeff Yagher), who is obsessed with his “perfect record” in the postal service, to the exclusion of all else.
Denise (Heidi Anderson) and her psychotic boyfriend Dole (Yagher again) enact an intense dance with death in their relationship of abuse and intimidation.
The evening’s most touching vignette recounts Lucinda (Lisa Lucas) trying to balance the demands of her sexually deprived mechanic husband (Yagher) and her mentally retarded sister, Bonnie (Levine). The second act is Eelie’s turn to tell of the circumstances that led to the death of her violent, self-proclaimed televangelist spouse Bishop (Yagher).
The story is preceded by the arrival of Elvis (Patrick Weathers), who informs Eelie that if he can successfully help her, he may leave purgatory.
The entire presentation possesses an occasionally subtle, but usually not tongue-in-cheek quality. Expressive interpretive dances weave the action of the stories together (Levine “stripping for Jesus” on TV is hilarious).
The actors perform adequately, with Yagher stealing the show. Levine does a moving turn as Bonnie, and Weathers’ seedy Elvis rings true, with enough of the original to be accessible.
Carnahan’s script is simple entertainment with no social value or insight, in spite of the issues it pokes fun at: exploitation, marital abuse, and self-esteem. Director Shannon McMahon and choreographer Cady Huffman move the show along in jerks, twists and grinds that sport little seductive fluidity.