Theater Review: THE MINEOLA TWINS (Moxie in San Diego)

Post image for Theater Review: THE MINEOLA TWINS (Moxie in San Diego)

by Milo Shapiro on October 18, 2021

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


Paula Vogel, likely best known for her Pulitzer prize-winning How I Learned to Drive, isn’t afraid to tackle tough themes. In The Mineola Twins, she does so by drenching sensitive topics in a twisted, surrealist comedy that is more a series of connected moments than an actual plot. Everything is fair game for examination and lampooning, from abortion rights to gay liberation to economic disparity in this wild montage of sibling rivalry.

Desireé Clarke and Samantha Ginn

Twin sisters, mischievous Myra and prim Myrna (both played by Samantha Ginn), have been at each other’s throats since sharing a bedroom as girls. When Myra swipes the virginity of Myrna’s boyfriend Jim (Emily Jerez in men’s clothing), the feud is on for life. The two characters rarely interact — wise writing, given the intention of having one actress play both roles — yet their vitriol for each other plays out through their interaction with family members and loved ones. We watch them undermine each other from the 1950s to around 1990. Do the sisters seem forty years older in the final scenes? Not really, but that’s hardly the strangest thing going on in this program; the passing of time seems only to serve them with the world’s current news to comment on.

Emily Jerez, Samantha Ginn and Desireé Clarke

Within the chaos, perhaps delighting in it, is the wonderful Samantha Ginn herself, who beautifully embodies and discerns these two off-kilter sisters. As gritty, extreme, and super-liberal as Myra is, Myrna is even more wackadoodle on the other extreme, at one point portraying a Laura Ingraham-like radio hostess and right-wing activist. The two sisters are distinguishable both by Ginn’s talent and Myrna’s ampler bosom.

Phillip Magin and Samantha Ginn

The show is glorious in its over-the-top period piece costuming and wigs (Danita Lee and Miss Bradstreet), giving it something of a John Waters feel. For all of its playfulness, though, it doesn’t really tell a strong story or make particularly powerful points on any of the topics it covers. Perhaps looking at conservative and liberal extremes in the same family was more shocking (or, worse, prophetic) when the show debuted in 1997. In today’s politically divided nation, though, it’s actually a common, daily news topic. Vogel wraps it in an enjoyable farcical setting with a few good laughs, while Jennifer Eve Thorn’s direction briskly moves the 90-minute one-act, but the script itself is more convoluted than profound or hilarious.

Samantha Ginn and Emily Jerez

Overheard in the audience when the lights came up:  “Um…I only had one drink at dinner, right?”  That may say it all.

Phillip Magin, Emily Jerez, Samantha Ginn and Desireé Clarke

photos courtesy of Moxie Theatre

The Mineola Twins
Moxie Theatre
6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N, in San Diego
Thurs at 7:30; Fri & Sat at 8; Sun at 2
ends on Oct 24, 2021
for tickets, call 858-598-7620 or visit Moxie Theatre

Emily Jerez and Samantha Ginn

Comments on this entry are closed.