The World According to Nona Appleby Brings Hilarity to the San Miguel Playhouse
By Fredric Dannen
New Yorker cartoonist Victoria Roberts—designated by The Age as the leading female cartoonist from Australia—was a teenager in Sydney attending art school when she got a weekend job at a nursing home. The residents, many of them from a generation called the “old Australia,” and noted for their distinctive accents, inspired her—in particular a feisty old dame called Queenie. Out of that experience came a composite character, a daffy, indomitable, kimono-clad Australian octogenarian named Nona Appleby.
Roberts joined the New Yorker roster in 1988, and within a year had contributed a cover, considered the highest honor in cartooning. Her style is distinctive. “I like to draw fat little ladies with hearing aids, weird infants with glasses, and domestic scenes. I see things as people at home see them,” Roberts says.
Many of her best-loved New Yorker cartoons feature Nona Appleby, and Roberts could always hear Nona’s dotty voice in her head as she drew. Roberts had been a child actor, and she has always thought of herself as a performer in addition to an artist and author. So in 2004, Roberts put on a henna wig and brought Nona to life in a side-splitting solo show that opened at the National Museum for Women in Washington DC. She went on to Urban Stages in New York City. Oprah Magazine contributor Molly Peacock lauded the show in the pages of the magazine.
Since settling in San Miguel de Allende three years ago, Roberts has toyed with the idea of reviving her solo show in her newfound home. That time is at hand.
On Saturday, January 26, at 7pm, and Sunday, January 27, at 3pm, The World According to Nona Appleby will have a two-day run at the San Miguel Playhouse. Noted pianist Alberto Macedo will serve as her sidekick and accompanist. Reserved-seat advance tickets are 200 pesos, available online via sanmiguelplayhouse.com; at boletocity.com; and at the Boleto City ticket kiosk on the second floor of the Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday. Tickets at the door (starting one hour before showtime) are 250 pesos.
Victoria Roberts “can make a hundred mental fireflies light up on a stage,” Peacock writes in her show review in Oprah Magazine. “Victoria understands the pressure point in a situation where you feel as if you’re living in a cartoon. For us in the audience, Nona becomes a lens through which we can see ourselves—and be amused.”
The San Miguel Playhouse is located at Avenida Independencia 82, and features free secured parking and taxi concierge service.
The World According to Nona Appleby
Featuring Victoria Roberts, with Alberto Macedo on piano
Sat, Jan 26, 7pm
Sun, Jan 27, 3pm
San Miguel Playhouse
Av Independencia 82
200 pesos advance
250 pesos at the door
Boleto City, Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123
sanmiguelplayhouse.com or boletocity.com