Mothers of Invention Goethe Institut Mainstage

Remaining performance:

Saturday, July 12, 9:00pm; Friday, July 18, 8:00pm; Sunday, July 20, 8:00pm; Friday, July 25, 6:30pm; Sunday, July 27, 5:00pm

They say: “A one-person, multi-media comedy set in a world of genetically modified junk-food. The story follows 3 women onstage (and 3 on TV) as they become entangled over a recall of KaChing potato chips. ‘Fun, funny, intelligent and well worth its weight in GM potato chips’ (Victoria Times).”

Tabitha’s take: The characters in this show may seem familiar: the bewildered and exploited ordinary folks, the slick CEO who’s half cheerleader and half demon, the silicone-filled talk show host, the late-night monarch Mary Queen (suspenders and all), and the space-age Martha Stewart showing off her portable greenhouse.

But writer and performer Laura Poe needs only simple costumes and a few words to establish each character as someone unique and interesting. The story moves smoothly from live action to pre-recorded television spots, in which Poe really shines. In a particularly layered scene, one character interviews another character while that character watches the broadcast – a sight rarely seen in one-person shows. Purists might protest that it’s cheating to have recorded half the cast ahead of time, but the television device does more than just work in the context; it’s a crucial component of the media-crazed world the show depicts.

Poe wants to make you think, but she never moralizes. There’s a squiggly line between “it’s funny because it’s true” and “it’s not funny because it could be true.” Although this show is populated by women who will risk their health to be beautiful and by advertisers who believe they can make the public buy anything, we’re far enough away from all that to be able to laugh, right?

See it if: You still have nightmares about Olestra.

Skip it if: The stuff George Jetson ate always looked good to you.