To the strains of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Ms Kathy Najimy sauntered onto the Festival Theatre stage to introduce her brand new, semi-autobiographical solo show Lift Up Your Skirt.
Just in case there were any audience members not quite aware of who she was, an extended video montage of her career also screened at the top of the set. And the 'one-night only' Adelaide audience got to experience a world premiere of this work in progress.
Well known for her big screen roles in Sister Act and Hocus Pocus, as well as the smaller screen's Veronica's Closet and numerous guest appearances, Kathy made it quite clear from the start that she wasn't known for her singing or cabaret abilities – this would not be a musical evening – even though musical director Brian J Nash performed onstage with her.
This was going to be a show about her life, or rather, stories from her life, mostly personal – except for the hilarious titbits about her lengthy obsession with Bette Midler that spanned decades and culminated with them working together on a movie.
There was much to tell about her proud Lebanese background and her battles with her weight and being a diabetic. Through many observations and stories, Kathy charmed the audience, who were probably not sure what to expect.
A talented, funny and often touching performance gave the audience many things, including a lengthy thought-provoking monologue – from Aunt Maddy – that encompassed everything this woman believes in – the right to live one's life as oneself – whoever that may be – without prejudice, and with respect.
Kathy Najimy proved to be so much more than just a likeable (lovable) and remarkable performer. She is an outspoken, intelligent and very funny woman.
It will be interesting to see how this show develops and if it does make it to the New York stage. Stay posted.
Adelaide Festival Centre presents
Lift Up Your Skirt
Venue: Festival Theatre | Adelaide Festival Centre
Date: 19 Jun 2014
Tickets: $89.90 – $54.90