In drops Mary Sue (Terri Heck), a ditzy, obnoxious church mouse with, as it turns out, quite a roar. She says things like "We're going to have to do that thing where we watch each other die, aren't we?" One thing leads to another, miscommunication abounds, and before you know it, the church mouse is covered in eggnog, and they're all wrestling on the couch just in time for Mel to show up.
My favorite one-liners come from Paulie, the thug. When Mary Sue says, "I bet they never made you peanut butter balls in prison," he responds with "Not like you're thinking." Norma and Wanda also offers moments of metaphoric genius, such as a scene in which a couple argue over charges of infidelity while another character stands by bleeding profusely. Maniacally bizarre as their behavior may be, Norma and Wanda's family still manage to remind us of almost every family, including probably our own: we love each other the best we can, although we sometimes do a less than perfect job.
Norma and Wanda continues its run at the Purple Rose Theater Wednesdays through Sundays through March 19.
[Originally published in March, 2005.]