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Five Women Wearing The Same Dress

a Comedy
by Alan Ball

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 653

SHOWING : January 23, 2003 - February 15, 2003



During an ostentatious wedding reception at a Knoxville estate, five reluctant, identically clad bridesmaids hide out in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reason to avoid the proceedings below. As the afternoon wears on, these five very different women joyously discover a common bond in this wickedly funny, irreverent and touching celebration of the women’s spirit.

Cast Karen Beyer
Costumes Joan Cooper
Props Chloe Evers
Lighting designer Tom Gillespie
Set design Scott F. Rousseau
Meredith Elizabeth Wright Coats
Mindy Lisa Parks
Georgeanne Kim Salome
Tripp Nick Tecosky
Trisha Karen Whitaker
Cast Jospeh Schoen
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Three and a Half
by GCherry
Saturday, February 15, 2003
Sometimes you just get tired of seeing the same people every time you see a show. It makes you wonder about the company. Did they intend to do that or do they not have a choice?

If I had only seen Act I, my review would have been a 4. The set, the ensemble, the believeable banter between characters, even the costumes.....the audience was really rolling. Everything snapped together and I was hooked. The actors were having a great time and so were we. Some of the script is a little rough, but I am told this show is older and the 'language-for-the-sake-of-language' like a lot of shows from the 1980's or early 1990's always bothers me, not because of the language but because after a point it no longer seems natural. Of the characters, Meredith is the spoiled and jealous little sister, Frances is the sweet little innocent the others can't stand, Trisha is the jaded older woman, Georgeanne is the wanna-be who settled for less and regrets it, and Mindy is (thankfully) not the stereotypical black sheep. Anyone who has ever been in a wedding will recognize most of these characters and remember who they know will fit those types.

Then there was Act II. It started off well and then dropped like a stone. The scene between one bridesmaid and the lone groomsman (who pops up from nowhere) is terribly long. The main problem is the script. Again, the scene is outdated. No one talks or behaves like that any more. And even though he does very well, it seems unfair that the author sticks this guy in the end of the show almost like an after thought. The two actors just never seemed comfortable or believeable in the situation they were trying to portray. That is not to suggest that either is not a good actor. When the others come back into the room towards the end of the show it is as if these two had been holding their breath during that terribly long scene and they come back to life. Maybe the age difference is too great to be believeable. Maybe they were just having a bad day. Unfortunantly, that scene brought the high energy of the show to a grinding hault and the audience could not recover, nor could I. If I had seen Act II first, I probably would have left at intermission. I left the theatre wondering WHY did the author do that to his script? WHY did the director not cut some of that stuff out or find a way to fix it? This is why I give the show an overall 3 score. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
These Five Women Get Five Stars...At Least
by Footlights
Monday, February 10, 2003
I was dragged to this show against my will. I admit it. I have seen a couple of other productions of this chick-fest over the years, and I simply saw no reason to see another version of a bunch of women whining abot men, sex, unflattering dresses and unlikeable brides.

But something is distinctly different here. Onstage Atlanta gets this one right...from the exquisite cast all the way down to the floral wallpaper and the deliciously southern pastel bridesmaids dresses. No the first three minutes I was hooked.

Each young woman has a story to tell. Right away we meet the bride's sister Meredith (the outstanding Elizabeth Wright Coats). I have seen more than one actress fall into the easy trap of portraying this particular character as a sullen, pouting brat. Coats wisely avoids this tactic, and focuses instead on the sarcastic wit and ironic humor of the character. She infuses her performance with a breezy sex appeal, making this character one of my favorites to watch.

Lisa Parks was also particularly excellent as the groom's lesbian sister Mindy. Parks also avoids stereotyping her character and chooses to play her honestly and from the heart. It is a wonderful performance of (in my opinion), one of the more grounded characters in the play.

Karen Whitaker possesses the perfect blend of sophistication and warmth to create the likeable Trisha, a woman who has seen and done it all. She is a towering stage presence, moving about with grace and confidence.

Kim Salome does a remarkable job as the unhappily married childhood friend of the bride's. Salome demonstrates a wonderful sense of comic timing, creating a character that is impossible not to like.

And LeeAnna Lambert could not be more perfect as the sweet and devoutly religious Frances. this actress is always intersting, and in this role she comes across as so true and so sincere in her convictions that I was genuinely moved by many of her words.

Each character has her moment to shine. Each actress shines brilliantly. This is a remarkable ensemble, and they seem to be having so much genuine fun together on stage that it is impossible not to get caught up in their raucous laughter, bawdy girl talk and outrageous antics. There is one particular scene where the audience is left literally screaming with is totally unexpected and totally absorbing. These are the kinds of moments I go to the theater for. Real moments. This production is chock-full of them.

This play succeeds due to the crisp, confident direction by Karen Beyer and the wonderfully realized performances of all six of her cast members.

My one complaint is and always has been with Alan Ball's script. Late in the second act we are suddenly introduced to one of the groomsmen, for reasons which I cannot fathom. The actor, Nick Tecosky, does a fine job, and more than holds his own with the women in the cast. The meat of his scene is mainly with Miss Whitaker, and although the two play nicely off of each other and demonstrate a palpable chemistry, the scene is simply misplaced. Perhaps it would have worked better for us to meet this lone male character much earlier on in the play. By the time the guy is introduced, the play is nearly over and we've just witnessed an emotional (and exceptionally well acted) revelation and subsequent confrontation between Coats and Parks, and we are left hanging, wishing we could see a little more of that scene. Rather than meeting one of the groomsmen at this point, I would have been more interested in meeting the much talked-about bride, or perhaps the slick heartthrob who is discussed at length throughout the play, and to whom each of the women has been linked.

But this complaint is minor compared to everything that this production gets right...and when the beautifully portrayed final moments of the play settled onto the stage, I found myself genuinely sorry that the show was over.

The script may have it's flaws. This production does not. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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