Yvonne Strumecki brings a whole new dimension to the character of Bloody Mary. Her strong, distinctive portrayal of the wily island entrepreneur is humorous, but with sad undertones just below the surface. The actor’s voice and presence add a secret magic to her rendition of “Bali Ha’i,” and even “Happy Talk” gets the extra-dimension treatment.
In a role she’s played before, Yvonne Strumecki is extraordinarily good as the indomitable Bloody Mary, a feisty Tonkinese grass skirt vendor. As Liat’s mother, she aids and abets her daughter’s love affair, whether luring Cable to her island with a haunting “Bali Ha’i” or encouraging the couple’s relationship with “Happy Talk.”
One high point in the show is Strumecki’s soulful siren song about her island paradise, “Bali Ha’I.