WHAT WOMEN TALK ABOUT: Gals Deliciously Dish the Dirt Sans Script by Kerrie Smith
Move over Carrie & Co. Four new women are moving into the neighborhood.
Anyone going through Sex and the City withdrawal will fall in love with What Women Talk About, playing at the Kraine Theater. In this clever and uproarious show, four gals get together and gab about - what else? Guys, clothes, sex, hair, shoes, guys, work and guys.
Surely, this can't be ALL women talk about! Certainly my friends and I discuss politics, global warming, sports, European history, art and the existential theories of Lost. But the cast wins you over with their delightful charm, sharp comic timing, raw emotion and humane performances, that soon you're ready to jump in and share your own dating horror stories.
So what makes this show uniquely, brilliantly sincere? For one thing, unlike Carrie Bradshaw and her cronies, these ladies are like "us." No sophistication here, no glamorous jobs. No $400 Manolo Blahniks, we're talking Payless. The fact that these characters –Bonnie, Jean, Sara and Sophie – are so ordinary makes them feel refreshingly real and instantly bonds you to them.
For another thing, each night's show – clocking in at about an hour – is totally unscripted. Whipping out improvised chit-chat, emotionally-charged outbursts and snappy, often hilarious comebacks off the cuff, these ladies create a very vivid, very tangible depiction of female bonding.
I can't begin to guess what the audition process was for this show but these women have a terrific chemistry. Each actress bursts onto the scene with a distinctive personality that makes for dynamic exchanges and conflict, and they all seem incredibly generous in terms of giving and taking and allowing breathing room for their fellow actresses. The result is a very natural, not forced, unfolding of events and dialogue that will easily remind any woman of her own gal pals. Brenna Palughi exudes great warmth and empathy as Sophie, proving there is more substance than stupidity in a dumb blonde type; Katherine Heller sparkles as Sara, the bold and sassy one, just gutsy enough to don a breast-bearing Janet Jackson Halloween costume and blunt enough to say some honest things to her friends; Lauren Seikaly conveys just the right amount of stewing emotion as Bonnie, the married one in the group who is dealing with the repercussions of having a fling; and Lynne Rosenberg as Jean is side-splittingly funny with on-her-toes acerbic wit and her blatant adoration for rapper Kanye West.
Even more novel is the fact that it's a serial. Yep, this is a continuing story, with each "episode" taking place in a different setting, allowing for both plot and character development. One day they're planning a wedding, the next show they're holding a poker game, one night they're dressing for a Halloween party (authentically on the actual night of Halloween.) What Women Talk About has all the makings for a deliciously good soap. Did he call? Did the apartment come through? Did she admit she was wrong? Did love save the day? You have to tune in every show to find out. These ladies make you want to.
WHAT WOMEN TALK ABOUT. At the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, now through November 12. For more information: www.whatwomentalkabout.com.