Saturday, March 12, 2011

- Theater Review - The Women

Peoria Players Theater continued its 2010-2011 season with the Friday night opening of the Clare Boothe Luce classic comedy, "The Women".

A couple dozen great comedic performances in a good solid production can almost redeem a play that may well have outlived its shelf life.

Written in 1936 by writer, editor, and politician Luce, the play celebrates the bitchiness of socialite women who have their 'jungle red' claws sharpened in readiness to fight for their men.

The George Cukor movie version featured a slew of Hollywood stars including Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Crawford, and became an enduring camp classic due to its plethora of one-line zingers.

This Peoria Players production is competently directed by Steve Bortolotti, and the all female cast of twenty-some women deliver those one-liners with relish.

Kerri Rae Hinman stars as the too-nice Mary Haines who must learn the art of sharpening her claws.  And indeed she has no shortage of teachers.

Cheryl Dawn Koenig is wonderful as the deliciously duplicitous Sylvia Fowler.

Also noteworthy is Sally Hodge as the much-married Countess de Lage.

Susan Irwin has fun as the constantly pregnant Edith Potter.

Turning in equally good performances are Mary Lang as Lucy, Casey GoldmanDewitt as Peggy Day, and  Rebecca Somogyi as Miriam Aarons.

In the end, this is a fun night of theater, with a heavy dose of laughter. 
And yet there is a bit of discomfort in watching women who define themselves only in terms of their child-bearing abilities and in the stature of their husbands and boyfriends. 
The never-seen but often-discussed men of the play are given a pass for their infidelities because... well, that's just how men are.

If you can get past this and put yourself in a 1930's frame of mind, then by all means go see this fun-filled show.

It runs through March 20th at Peoria Players.


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