Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Cathpolic School Girls"

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note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


"Catholic School Girls"


Reviewed by Tony Annicone


2nd Story Theatre's current show is "Catholic School Girls" by Casey Kurtti. The show originally premiered off Broadway in 1982. It tells the story of four Catholic school girls coming of age from 1962 to 1970 in St. George's School in Yonkers, NY. It spans eight years of their lives from the first day of first grade to the last day of eighth grade. They grow older during the episodic nature of this show. The scenes generally take place in the classroom where the nuns who are also played by the same four actresses, chide and lecture sinisterly about sin. There are comic as well as poignant monologues from each of the girls that delve more deeply into their lives. This splendid production is excellently directed by Ed Shea who picked the four best actresses for these double roles, giving the audience a look back at the turbulent 1960's through the eyes of these girls.

The time periods covered in the show are first grade, second grade, First Holy Communion, fourth grade, sixth grade, eighth grade, the Spring Flowers dance and the final day of eighth grade. These four actresses make the transition from school girl to teacher with ease. Lara Hakeem as the not too bright and timid Italian girl, Maria Theresa, Ashley Hunter Kenner as the smart and spoiled Polish girl Wanda, Erin Olson as the bossy Colleen and Valerie Westgate as the faith fleeting Elizabeth are excellent in these roles. They all shine as these characters. Valerie has three separate monologues, the first on how to say the name of Jesus, the second when she is angry at God and renounces her religion and the final one is as she looks back on her school days. She handles the different tone of them beautifully as do the other women. Ashley's monologue is about becoming famous and appearing on Ed Sullivan, Lara's is about being adopted by Donna Reed and Erin's is about getting her "friend" in sixth grade and being embarrassed by her mean nun. Valerie also plays the strict Sister Thomasina in fourth grade, while Lara plays Sister Germaine in sixth grade who is concerned about the girls health class. The seemingly ancient and addled Sister Agnes is played perfectly by Ashley who finally helps Elizabeth with her problem in eighth grade. Erin is hilarious as the most vicious nun of them all, Sister Lucille. She runs roughshod over the girls in second grade and appears again as their eighth grade teacher to torture them once again. Erin's Irish brogue is perfect and her demeaning of the girls is, too. So for a marvelous play about how things were in the 1960's Catholic Schools, be sure to catch "Catholic School Girls" to witness fantastic acting, direction and a very well written witty script.

CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS (1 to 24 April)
2nd Story Theatre, 28 Market Street, Warren, RI
1(401)847-4200 or www.2ndstorytheatre.com




THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |