A Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Five Women Wearing The Same Dress"

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note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Larry Stark

"Five Women Wearing The Same Dress"

by Alan Ball Directed by Gordon Ellis

Costume Design by Kimmerie H.O. Jones
Hair & Makeup Design by Lisa Scopa
Set Design by Ben Aldrich
Lighting Design by Jonathan Kemble
Lights Operator A.J. LeDuke
Sound Design by Tito & Woof
Assistant Producer Ronni Marshak
Produced by Jeremy Medicus
Stage Manager Matthew Silverstein

Frances...........Rachel Carney
Meredith..........Mary Kate Rod
Trisha.............Melissa Sine
Georganne...Gail Bishop Nessman
Mindy................Sara Jones
Tripp.................Ted Batch

In my early-middle youth --- before my family owned a t-v --- we visited Aunt Annie a lot. There was a panel-show probably called "Battle of The Sexes" wherein three witty ladies offered commentary on social mores of the day, while one lone male defended his sex, and got five minutes at the end to ask his own questions. When he asked "What do you women do when there are no men around" the first crack out of the panel was "Well, we pull down our girdles and we scratch!" In a sense that's what happens when five bridesmaids crammed into an upstairs bedroom --- and into billowy, crinolin-enhanced blush-pink scoop-necks --- discuss their relations (SIC!) with the groom and the bride.

Gordon Ellis, directing his first full-length play, orchestrated this sharply witty revelation of modern mores into a smoothly flowing series of revelations and surprises. The rhythms of Knoxville (Tenn.) honey-over these exchanges, full of perfectly placed pauses that often say more than words would. We have here a Christian cousin (Rachel Carney); the bride's bitter sister (Mary Kate Rod); a jaded worldly belle (Melissa Sine); a married (barely) wit with a weight-problem (Gail Bishop Nessman); and a beauty-queen (and lesbian) sister of the groom (Sara Jones) --- all airing their bruised experiences and trenchant opinions on the lot of modern woman. Their conversations might seem so much sour grapes until Ted Batch, playing the only interesting eligible bachelor at the affair, offers at least one of them a chance to rekindle, with both their eyes wide open, a no-nonsense chance at romantic sex --- and perhaps more.

Every aspect of this show --- from Kimmerie H.O. Jones' glowing costumes and Lisa Scopa's hair and makeup design down to Christopher J. Dunn's program design --- is perfectly, lovingly executed, and the acting, and Inter-acting, is superb.

I must apologise for the unforgiveable lateness of this review --- but the good news is that popular demand for tickets has forced The Hovey Players to extend the run for an additional week-end! That, in cold theatrical terms, is a happy-ending indeed....


"Five Women Wearing The Same Dress" (14 January - 5 February)
Abbott Theatre, 9 Spring Street, WALTHAM, MA
1 (781)893-9171

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide