Posted on Jul 21, 2014
4 out of 5
Before seeing this show I heard the hype, I saw the cast list and I watched the preview at the KC Rep. I was drawn in with curiosity and the human urge to laugh. The preview, I felt, did it's job by reeling me in but it did not do this work justice. The story is reminiscent of Mean Girls meets sex education videos...in the 1950s. Though this concept is interesting, the casting choices are what really make the show so strong.
Each character is crafted in it's own unique flavor, with some gelling more with the audience than others though all creating the sitcom-esque world the play lives in. A stand out among the cast would be Melissa Fennewald. Fennewald's impeccable line delivery can only be met by her carefully decided physicality as each gesture rings absolutely true with her character, Lou Lou. I found myself unable to watch anyone else when she was on stage. Having only heard her name in passing, I was quite surprised at the amount of empathy her portrayal of this character gushed from me for such a seemingly fluff piece of theatre. I am hopeful to see her in other works in the near future.
One of my usual favorites, Kenna Hall, leads this show as Mary Sue. However, the crisp and bold comedic timing she usually possesses never quite got there in this performance, yet she still maneuvered her scenes with obvious skill.
Another actress I am unfamiliar with, Ellen Kirk, quickly won my loathing and laughter as Mary Sue's overbearing, 'God fearing' and neurotic 1950s Stepford Wife mother. Her lines could have easily fallen flat but she infused them with new inflections and created comedy gold out of some seemingly throw away lines.
Briana Marxen-McCollum proves you don't have to be in the spotlight to display your talents. Her voice over work as Mary Sue's inner thoughts were comically delivered and perfectly timed.
School girls led by Bonnie Griffin were perfectly caricatured versions of real life 'it girls.' Ai Vy Bui and Alisa Lynn's bubbly and over the top brightness wonderfully contrast Griffin's dark and sex-driven 'Mags' creating the stereotypical power trio in the best way.
Other characters glide in and out of scenes smoothly and though deliver their scenes well, could use some work to create better delivered lines. That is really the only thing keeping me from giving this show a perfect 5. But for a Fringe show, and really any show for that matter, a 4/5 from me is hard to earn but this show has.