A "robotic, psychotic" Ann Coulter, a Mary Cheney who's gay but definitely not a lesbian, a mean and meaner John Ashcroft, and, of course, our grammar-deprived president -- these are some of the unsavory characters in "Bush Is Bad." The only problem with the wildly funny, merrily performed concoction at the Triad is that its run ends Dec 29.
Subtitling itself "The Musical Cure for the Blue-State Blues," the revue taps into the anger and frustration adrift in the land. With concept, music, and lyrics by Joshua Rosenblum (also the pianist), this is a sharply satirical, unapologetically partisan evening, starting with labeling Bush "the worst president we've ever had" and ending with a call for his impeachment.
Yet the show is miraculously lighthearted in its skewering, parboiling, and devouring of the administration. The happy Good Conservative Values trio boasts about "defunding the arts," Valerie Plame and Mark (Deep Throat) Felt do a Gallagher and Shean routine, and there are choice words for the usual suspects (Bolton, Rove, DeLay, Falwell, Robertson).
Parodying how three composers would handle the situation, Rosenblum gives us Michael McCoy as a dour Schumann, Neal Mayer as a fey Noël Coward, and Kate Baldwin as a Kurt Weill heroine in the guise of a wistful Laura Bush ("You were a drunk, Georgie/A lazy drunk, Georgie").
Baldwin is all the more devastating because she does everything with a sweet smile. Her Ann Coulter is deliriously silly. Mayer does some wicked impersonations and McCoy uses his big frame to show how puny people like John Ashcroft really are. The 70-minute evening climaxes with a hilarious sing-along to Bush's own words ("the past is over," "is our kids learning," and so on).
Gary Slavin's direction is spirited, though his choreography is limited on the small stage. Anne Auberjonois' costumes and Tonya Pierre's lighting are on the mark.