Goethe-Institut Mainstage, 812 7th Street NW
Saturday, July 16, 10 p.m.
Sunday, July 17, 6 p.m.
Sunday, July 24, noon
They say: “The Hilarious True Adventures That Transform A British Convent School Girl Into A Chaplain At The Largest Men’s Prison In Maryland.”
Catherine’s Take: Geraldine Buckley served as the Christian chaplain at a maximum security men’s prison outside of D.C. until last year—-but that fact doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of her storied past. Buckley’s humor is wholesome but never bland. She’s got plenty of British cheekiness, but any carnal allusions she makes are more wink-and-nudge, and less ribald, than your average Fringe show’s. Her professional past as a radio host shines through. An engaging performer, she’s able to draw in her audience with wild gesticulations, and even more effectively with her aural talents. Her pacing, cadence, and perfected sound effects paint a crisp image of her quirky adventures and unusal friendships.
Buckley recounts some moments of true adversity, but her quick thinking and unique methodologies in the face of seemingly unsolvable problems are refreshing and uplifting. Whether negotiating with a leader of the Crips as an adult or managing her mischievous older brother as a young girl, Buckley perseveres with aplomb. Hers is a life peppered with chance encounters and serendipitious arrangements. A plane ride leads to a life-changing audition at the BBC’s drama department; a trans-Atlantic move in the name of love leads to a lifelong friendship with Liz Carpenter, liberal icon and Lady Bird Johnson’s press secretary. No stage of Buckley’s life is dull: cowboys and kids, politicos and prisoners star in a history that’s one rollicking escapade after another. She is a teacher, an artist, and a supreme storyteller.
See it: If you have family in town. Destination? Slammer! is the perfect panacea for multi-generational entertainment needs.
Skip it: If you think prison dramas are worth it for the shock value.