Thursday, May 15, 2014

BACHELORETTE • Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble

The display of alcohol fueled bitchiness among women is nothing new, but the vicious appetites of the three women featured in Leslye Headland's play firmly places the dark in dark comedy. When four high school friends get together for a bachelorette party night of self-indulgence, the sting of life's letdowns are veiled behind booze, pot, cocaine, random sex and a meanness that makes The Real Housewives look like choir girls.

Regan (Ellie Schwetye), Gena (Cara Barresi) and Katie (Wendy Renée Greenwood) were the popular girls back in the day, and now these post-collegiate friends meet up to celebrate the pre-wedding festivities of their "friend", the bride-to-be, Becky (Jamie Fritz). Gena and Katie had a falling out with Becky years earlier and are crashing the party, invited by Regan, the maid of honor. These three are already half-past plastered by the time they reach their posh Manhattan hotel room, provided by Becky, and once they realize that there is enough chilled champagne for at least 2 bottles each, it. is. on.

Cara Barresi (Gena), Wendy Renée Greenwood (Katie)
and Ellie Schwetye (Regan).
Photo credit: Joey Rumpell of RumZoo Photography
Gena, trying to recover from a recent breakup, is used to turning heads when she walks into a room, and shows only the faintest glimmer of self-awareness while Katie, the ultimate party girl and former prom queen, now works in retail, lives with her folks, and careens out of control by the end of the night. Regan seems to be the most promising of the three -- an alpha bitch with a long time doctor-to-be boyfriend and a good job, who wonders why Becky is the one who gets to get married.

Their one unanimously declared advantage that they hang onto is the fact that unlike Becky, they're not fat. After a thorough trashing of Becky and a detailed discussion about blow jobs, a couple of guys that Regan picked up join the happenings, determined to get laid. Jeff (Jared Sanz-Agero) is the arrogant one, but manages to carry on a reasonable exchange with Regan, at least long enough to get her in the sack. The good-hearted pot-head named Joe (Carl Overly, Jr.) bonds with Katie over cell phone selfies and a few hits of weed. The activities near a fever pitch just as Becky, who's been spending time with her fiancé, drops in to check up on her maid of honor. Oy.

Jared Sanz-Agero (Jeff) and Ellie Schwetye (Regan).
Photo credit: Joey Rumpell of RumZoo Photography
Director Rachel Tibbetts (also the sound designer) draws out the malicious best in her cast, and though the pacing is a little rushed at the start, intensified by the echoey space, the tempo settles in about a quarter of the way into the play. Barresi, Greenwood and Schwetye turn in great performances and make for a fearsome threesome. Tibbetts and Schwetye are responsible for the swanky scenic design, Bess Moynihan handles the lighting design and Tracey Newcomb-Margrave is credited for the wedding dress construction.  I won't even tell you what happens with the dress…

Wendy Renée Greenwood (Katie) and Carl Overly, Jr. (Joe).
Photo credit: Joey Rumpell of RumZoo Photography
How appropriate that this play falls within SATE's “Season of the Monster”. Monsters indeed. They remind me of those girls whom you DID NOT want to cross in high school, while the thought of being friends with them was even less palatable. It's one hell of an entertaining evening, but don't bring the kids. This is the last weekend to check it out!


BACHELORETTE

Written by Leslye Headland
Directed by Rachel Tibbetts
through May 17 | tickets: $15 - $20
Performances Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm

Jamie Fritz (Becky).
Photo credit: Joey Rumpell of RumZoo Photography
Cast:
Cara Barresi (Gena), Wendy Renée Greenwood (Katie), Ellie Schwetye (Regan), Jared Sanz-Agero (Jeff), Carl Overly, Jr. (Joe) and Jamie Fritz (Becky).

Creative:
Lighting design by Bess Moynihan; scenic design by Ellie Schwetye and Rachel Tibbetts; sound design by Rachel Tibbetts; wedding dress construction by Tracey Newcomb-Margrave; stage manager, Mollie Amburgey.

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