A CurtainUp Review
Regan (Tracee Chimo), Katie (Celia Keenan-Bolger) and Gena (Katherine Waterson) are the three pathetic, but very attractive twenty-something women, friends since school days, at the center of and the cause of the chaos in this unsettling play, under the indulgent direction of Trip Cullman. They are well prepared to make us wince at their pervasive shallowness and their callous disregard for socially acceptable behavior. But they also make us hope that we are around to see that they get what they deserve.
But what are the dramatic or comedic consequences, if any, for these three amoral, unethical, self-centered/serving young women who allow themselves to get completely out-of-control, but yet remain in relative harmony with each other? That they not only trash the posh wedding suite of their best friend Becky (Carmen M. Herlihy) on the eve of her wedding but also invite two young men Joe (Fran Kranz) and Jeff (Eddie Kaye up to the suite for dope and sex. Unfortunately Becky doesn't arrive at the suite where her bachelorette party is being held until all the damage is done, including the ripping of her $16,000 wedding gown.
Regan is the only one of the presumably close friends who was asked to be Becky's maid-of-honor. She takes it upon herself to invite Katie and Gena up to the suite to party as retaliation for their not being invited. Notwithstanding the bottles of champagne in the bathtub, Katie and Gena arrive with pills of all shapes, colors and sizes and a good supply of crack cocaine. The action takes place in the living room of the suite (smartly designed by Andromache Rebholz). The bedroom and bathroom are off-stage.
On stage puking has become almost de rigueur, and Keenan-Bolger, who delighted us in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, gets more than one opportunity to demonstrate this fine art. She plays Katie, the acknowledged alcoholic (based on what criteria I can't tell you) of the group and looks terrific and sexy in those gladiator sandals that are the current rage in women's footwear. Gena (Katherine Waterston) gets to snort cocaine until her nose bleeds, but she at least finds a tailor to fix the torn gown.
Chimo, who played Lauren in last year's off-Broadway hit Circle Mirror Transformation, is scarily persuasive as Regan. She is undoubtedly the most emotionally screwed up of the lot and harbors the most resentment admitting, "I was the one who should have married first. " While they proceed to get wasted, they jabber at great length about their failure to find a rich husband. More importantly they take up a lot of time rating the different ways to give a blow job. The playwright may not know it, or the characters who may not attend Off Broadway plays, but this activity has been covered quite sufficiently this past season alone.
Frank Kranz and Eddie Kaye Thomas are fine as the standard schlemiels unwittingly drawn into a situation that becomes increasingly hostile and nasty. The play is almost devoid of humor except in how it is defined by all the gross and groveling behavior. You almost have to laugh as the thoroughly wasted Katie tries to seduce the reluctant Joe. After writhing about on the floor, he finally says to her, "I don't want to have sex with you because you smell of vomit. " Becky, of course, is the character for whom we have the most empathy and Herlihy portrays her as an unexpectedly guileless woman who is not going to be anyone's fool or foil. But it takes more than a little empathy to get past our apathy and disgust for this crowd.