Providence College Theatre's spring show is Aristophanes' "Lysistrata", a musical protest which has been adapted by Ellen McLaughlin. In a bold maneuver to broker peace, Lysistrata unites the women of Greece in a sex strike. Dance, music and ribald comedy abound in this adaptation of Aristophanes' classic anti-war play. Make love, not war may have been a slogan of the 1960's but Lysistrata and her followers take things one step further:no love until there is no war. The women agree to withhold sex from their husbands until peace is negotiated, a plan which backfires for everyone, with bawdy comedy emerging as the winner. Director Mary Farrell breathes new life into this 2000 year old classic tale with her talented student performers, creating a show to be savored and enjoyed, garnering a multitude of laughter along the way while invoking the strong statement against war.
Mary infuses high energy into her performers, giving them a multitude of clever bits of business and shtick. The Greek chorus played fabulously by Aubrey Dion and Marisa Urgo weave their way in and out of scenes with finesse. They start the show with TV sets on top of their heads reporting what is happening as the other women turn around gravestones with current atrocities listed on them. Katerina Pavao delivers a tour-de-force performance as Lysistrata. She unites the feisty Greek women, belittles the men, running roughshod over one and all. She tries to stop the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata orders the women to occupy the treasury, keeping the men out of the Acropolis. Katerina commands the stage in the scenes with the women, declaring she hates them, they are always late and defeats the magistrate finally making him submit to stopping the war. The funniest one is when the men realize that women miss sex as much as they do. There are many phallic symbols and fake boobs used in this show with hilarious results. Balloons are used by the men, limp at first then erect later on. One of them popped, having to be replaced for use in future scene which left the audience in stitches.
Brian Kozak is a hoot as the magistrate who is powerless to control her. Their scenes sizzle and crackle with intensity especially impressive is their song "Matters" which is reminiscent of a "Godspell" number. He is the last man standing that submits to her will. One of the women is Myrrhine played excellently by Grace Curley. She sounds like Fran Drescher with her nasal accent bemoaning giving up sex with her husband. Her scenes with the other women are very funny as they talk about food, hair, make-up but they are really going to miss sex. Myrrhine's husband's song is a show stopper as he flails around the floor with his balloon dick flopping every which way. Her long suffering husband, Cinesias is played by Dan Caplin. He tries to woo her, schemes to get her back and finally begs her to cure his huge problem. His fantastic voice is heard in "Give It Up". The geezer scene is hilarious as the three men, Dan, Brendan Lynch and Ben Williams enter through the audience adlibbing obscenities as their amble their way to the stage and the three old women spray them with giant water pistols. Kudos to the whole cast and crew on a job well done. A word of praise to stage manager, Veronica Murphy keeps the the performers on their toes all night long. The multitude of costumes is by Amanda Downing Carney. So for an hysterical look back at an old show given a fresh new interpretation with clever sight gags and shtick to tickle your funny bone, be sure to catch "Lysistrata" at Blackfriars Theatre.