Oscar E Moore

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PARTY FACE – Group Therapy Dublin Style Starring Hayley Mills Off-B’way

February 18th, 2018 by Oscar E Moore

Five Irish women.  Family and frenemies and one germ-a-phobic manic-depressive obsessive compulsive acquaintance.  Girl talk ensues.  Men in and out of their lives.  Chatty.  Gossipy.  Bitchy.  With an assortment of accents/brogues.  Nibbling and imbibing.  Loosening up.  Group therapy Dublin style.

At a party to celebrate Mollie Mae’s new kitchen – not her most recent bout with having a nervous breakdown because her unseen husband has flown the coup we, one by one, meet the assembled group.  After a while you will consider the fleeing husband lucky.  How Alan lasted 16 years is a wonder.

Wine glasses and multiple bottles of wine on view on the lovely set designed by Jeff Ridenour as we meet a subdued and glum looking Mollie (Gina Costigan) prepping for her guests wearing a wrist bandage and a frown.

You’ll find out why eventually and her reason for being so glum as she awaits the arrival of Carmel her sophisticated well preserved albeit annoying take charge judgmental mum (Hayley Mills looking lovely in pale pink silk Capri pants and white blouse) and her sarcastic sister Maeve (Brenda Meaney looking very butch) and her always positive but annoying neighbor Chloe (Allison Jean White looking like a spaced out socialite) whom I have nick-named Ms. Magenta.  Costume by Lara De Bruijn.

It is only near the end of Act I that Mollie Mae’s hospital mate Bernie (Klea Blackhurst) looking very much like Josephine the Plumber; bringing along her own yogurt and roll of plastic wrap arrives – just in time – to fix a leaky sink that explodes.  Don’t ask.

This group of women deserve each other.  We don’t.  After two acts of this ridiculous chit chat I would suggest avoiding them.  As has the aforementioned unseen Alan leaving behind an unseen topiary of a large penis and balls.

The characters as written by playwright Isobel Mahon are quite superficial.  We aren’t drawn in.  We don’t care.  The actors do their best.  But they can only do so much with what is not supplied by Ms. Mahon.

As directed by Amanda Bearse in TV sit-com mode (all we need is a laugh track) they become caricatures and tend toward the farcical which fights against any attempt at naturalism in the script.

To wit:  Act II opens with a conga line to “Turn The Beat Around” – there is a pillow fight, someone throws up, and Hayley Mills conks out on the sofa after some weird “find yourself” meditation lesson offered by the ever floating Chloe.  It’s not in the least bit amusing.

Through April 8th at City Center Stage II

Photos:  Jeremy Daniel

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