Win a yardbird
The Queen of Bingo
You can catch a play, indulge in a game of bingo and win a frozen bird all without ever leaving your seat at Celebration Arts’ newest production, The Queen of Bingo.
As the title indicates, this is a play about bingo cards, free spaces, lucky charms, magnetic chips and daubers. For the uninitiated, this is bingo lingo. For those who worship at the Church of Bingo, those words, along with “Early Bird Special,” “I-16” and “G-47,” can bring bingo bingers to their knees.
This light comedy by playwrights Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy showcases two sisters who play bingo side by side in the church hall at St. Joseph’s while contemplating life and dishing dirt about fellow bingo players. It’s a funny, simple, slice-of-life play—small on plot and character development but big in heart.
The strength of this production lies in the portrayal of the two sassy sisters—Jane Williams as the patient, parenting older sister, Sis; and Bonnie Bane as the frazzled, “fat” younger sister, Babe.
Both Sis and Babe are wrestling with ripening ages, single status, retirement blues and money woes, and each deals with her own individual burdens. Babe is muumuu-bound and housebound because of her ever-increasing dress size, and Sis is tired of intruding children and hiding a burgeoning bingo habit.
The two actresses who play the roles showcase a real feel for the sisterly duo and bring forth both pathos and overall love for each other. Through Williams’ and Bane’s performances, you can visualize their entire sibling relationship: Babe rescues poor Sis, and, in turn, Sis entertains her more proper elder sister. It’s too bad the plot and pacing too often ruin the twosome’s rhythms. Director Mar Hoffman can’t do much with the slim script, but he could tighten the action—starting from the very first scene, which takes forever to get off and rolling.
As an added bonus, audience members receive a bingo card when they enter, and then they participate in their own bingo game at intermission. At every performance, the first audience member who gets “bingo” receives the grand prize of a frozen turkey, courtesy of a neighborhood supermarket.