Dixie’s back, y’all, and she wants to help you learn how to burp.
That is just one of the invaluable skills Dixie Longate (aka Kris Andersson) wants to pass along in Dixie’s Tupperware Party, a presentation of high-quality plastic storage products that is part commerce, part drag show, part theater and all hilarious.
And Dixie has moved so many deviled egg holders and cake takers in previous visits to McDavid Studio that she-he has now returned to that venue for an almost monthlong run that began Wednesday.
But what Dixie does is not your grandmother’s Tupperware party. This show is the brainchild of Andersson, an actor who dons a dress and wig to portray Dixie, a Tupperware queen with an Alabama accent so thick you could grow kudzu on it, and a heart as big as her brilliantly red hair.
Make no mistake, the primary goal in this Performing Arts Fort Worth presentation is to sell you what Dixie lovingly calls “this plastic crap.”
But along the way, she also entertains with an unbroken stream of ribald double entendres related to how her products might be used, some Tupperware history, more than a few four-letter words, a lot of audience participation and frequent digressions about her personal life.
In those moments, we learn a lot about trailer parks, her three children, her third husband, Hector, and her relationship with her parole officer.
Dixie supplies the abundant laughs in this show, but it also works because of the audience’s willingness to play along. They love Dixie, even while she is showering them with mild insults (“hookers” is her generic term for the female audience members) and constantly putting them down for their ignorance regarding her products.
Don’t commit the sin of being male at one of these gatherings. Dixie’s typical modus operandi is to single out some poor guy who has been forced to attend to give him a stern lecture about his shallow understanding of Tupperware products (“It’s not just bowls, Drew!” she admonished her victim du jour at Thursday’s performance).
She then directs at her wrath at him throughout the show in the name of comedy and plastic storage device education. At one point Thursday, poor Drew was chastised for breathing.
If this all sounds wacky beyond belief, it is. But it is also pure genius. Andersson is incredible in his portrayal of Dixie. He works the room in character before the show begins, passing out mints from a Tupperware bowl and chatting up the audience.
Once the curtain goes up, he never slips out of character. That’s not hard to do in the scripted parts. But much of what Dixie-Andersson does is created on the fly, based on what the audience does. It is in these ad-libbed exchanges that Andersson shines most brightly. So it is no shock that this show has played off-Broadway and garnered a Drama Desk Award nomination (as well as probably selling mountains of Tupperware).
That is not to say all of it works. Dixie sees Tupperware as a symbol of female empowerment, and the only serious moments in the show are directed toward that goal. But I would be more likely to buy one of those silly things that holds half-cut onions than this particular message coming from a man dressed as a woman.
Andersson would probably say that a nod to feminism, and his lionization of the woman who developed the Tupperware party concept, Brownie Wise, are the most important parts of the show. I, however, found them preachy and misplaced.
But most of Dixie’s annotated, 100-minute sales pitch is fall-down funny.
You will seldom see an evening of entertainment where the audience and the star are more joyously united in a desire to have a good time. So long as you aren’t Drew.