Dallas — All the Dallas Solo Fest shows are scheduled at 90-minute intervals, and the theater audience doubled in size for the 8:30 p.m. show, Critical, Darling!, written and performed by Dallas indie writer and delicious gender-bending performance artist Brigham Mosley.
Outfitted in a stunning rainbow-striped crocheted dress and matching platforms so high they qualify as stilts, Mosley sat quietly observing the returning audience and greeting some new people, clearly fans of this svelte six-footer with great-looking hairy legs. Smiling and giving beauty tips on eye-makeup and favorite shopping venues before the show, he was clearly having as much fun as the audience. He joked, "So this is it. This is the show; keep asking questions."
Then he got down to the business of why it's so "critical to be critical" of the violent and media-maddened America we inhabit. Never moving from his perch, Mosley nevertheless turns his long torso left and right, acknowledging a laugh with a swift, "Thank you," and a knowing grin. He speeds through his stories of outrage and his own anxieties and fears as an adult, then slows his speech to a mesmerizing sing-song rhythm as he recalls the happy places in his childhood, when he built "a pillow fort" where he felt safe. The show never sags for a moment, and Mosley clearly rings a bell with the audience recalling his childhood delights. He saved the sexy cardboard inserts from his underwear to enjoy in private, and still relishes the woman who cut his hair when he was five, and "told me I was pretty like a girl."
At 31, Mosely says he's consumed by questions about the nature of the self, and "what's the stuff inside made of. Deep, huh?" he says, but nobody needs an apology. Moving from religion to cults and back again, he takes a swipe at the heartless business of nostalgia in using old movies and ideas to evoke our feelings and make money. He truly engaged his audience on Saturday night with his funny-serious rant on who is the most marginalized, the most pitiful. After a swift 45-minutes, Mosley says he'd grown tired and ready to retreat to his long-ago pillow fort. He invited us all to join him, stood up nearly to the low ceiling, and took a deep bow to much applause.
I, for one, wanted to snuggle into that soft, safe place and just breathe.