BWW Reviews: WOMEN Lovingly Blends and Mashes Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN and HBO's GIRLS
Jo March really thinks she could be the voice of her generation....or at least, a voice of a generation in WOMEN, the record-breaking hit from #Serials @ The Flea Theater, fresh off its sold out run in NYC, which is now at The Hollywood Fringe Festival, directed by Stephanie Ward. This fast-paced comedy is a mash up of Louisa May Alcott's classic, 'Little Women' and HBO's critically acclaimed 'Girls' delivering a smartly crafted and hilarious 55 minute show.
Having recently seen a production of LITTLE WOMEN The Musical, I was very familiar with the story but was totally surprised and laughed repeatedly at this very fast-paced hysterically modern take on the story by Beth Dies, Inc. titled WOMEN. All of the women are perfectly cast and take their characters seriously and firmly tongue in cheek at the same time. Be prepared to laugh as the scenes go by at an astonishing pace!
Poor Beth (Rachel Lin) takes the brunt of abuse for her coughing, carrying it to the point of a rap tune while lying in bed dying. Her sisters rate the noise level on a scale of 1 to 10, with poor Beth struggling to keep quiet. At one point, her sisters even suggest she got outside - in the snow - laughable since doing so would surely hasten her demise. The fine acting skill of the actresses allows each moment of Beth abuse to result in outrageous audience laughter.
Bubblehead blonde Meg (Abby Rosebrock) has such fun with her Valley Girl persona as she suffers through postpartum depression after giving birth to twins, confiding to the audience that there has to be more than being married and tied down to a man of little means, you almost feel sorry for her - almost. And her poor, milquetoast husband Mr. Brooke (Bradley Anderson) forbids even his wife to call him John, leading to many ongoing laughs each time he makes that demand.
Amy (Lydian Blossom) is the self-centered artist too afraid to comfort her sick sister, while oldest sister Jo (Layla Khoshnoudi) takes her non-interest in men even more seriously than in the book. Her heartfelt and soulful performance, as well as the cast's ability to change the set at breakneck speed, keeps the show moving and the audience laughing!
And Zac Moon is a standout as Laurie, or Larry as he would be preferred to be known, hopelessly in loved with Jo who thinks of him only as her "brother." Of course he winds up being just that!
Vicki Rodriquez portrays Marmee as an old-fashioned and care-giving mother right out of the book, and Stephen Stout allows us to see Professor Bhaer's awkwardness with women. The "umbrella" scene between the Professor and Jo is touching, but one wonders how these two will ever make it work as a married couple given their real mutual interest appears to only be books.
This one is definitely worth seeing for fans of the original book who will appreciate the sarcasm and over-the-top modern take on these classic WOMEN.
Performances take place at Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038 on Friday, June 13 at 10:00 PM, Sunday, June 15 at 5:30 PM, Wednesday, June 18 at 8:30 PM, Thursday, June 19 7:00 PM, Saturday, June 21 at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door or in advance at http://hff14.org/1746.
Learn More at www.womentheshow.com.