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Review: MEAN GIRLS At Bass Concert Hall Is Ruthlessly Hilarious

MEAN GIRLS began its life as a surprise hit movie in 2004 penned by SNL alum Tina Fey.

Review: MEAN GIRLS At Bass Concert Hall Is Ruthlessly Hilarious

Broadway In Austin brings the ruthlessly hilarious North American tour of Tina Fey's MEAN GIRLS to Bass Concert Hall, where the theatre is cool and the show is hot, hot, hot! I was fortunate enough to be able to attend opening night on Tuesday with a packed house of ardent fans.

MEAN GIRLS began its life as a surprise hit movie in 2004 penned by SNL alum Tina Fey. Since then it's become an award winning musical with not a comedy beat missed. It's the coming-of-age story of high school newbie Cady Heron (English Bernhardt) and her attempt to fit in, make friends and date the ideal boy. Things start off well for her when she meets Janice (Lindsay Heather Pearce) and Damian (Samuel Gerber), two 'misfits' who genuinely like Cady. But things go off the rails when she is noticed by the 'Plastics', a trio of vicious frenemies who include Regina (Nadina Hasan), and her ardent acolytes Gretchen (Jasmine Rogers) and Karen (Morgan Ashey Bryant). Damian and Janice, who narrate the show, encourage Cady to infiltrate the chic clique and report the dirt back to them. With the seeds of comedy firmly planted, we are invited to watch the highly entertaining bounty. MEAN GIRLS is a fast and furious flurry of a production moving at the speed of light from scene. Every single set piece is mounted on wheels and glides across the stage moved by the actors in perfect coordination. But it's the huge video screens on stage that are the massive game changer. These screens are used for the background setting for the entire show and cut scene changes down to nanoseconds. Bright, moving and sometimes a bit too flashy, these high tech flats represent a revolution in theatre production. Why paint background when it can be sent to the stage via video without moving anything or constructing expensive scenery? Please forgive me, I'm a bit of a tech theatre geek and I found this aspect of the show absolutely fascinating. If you want to experience MEAN GIRLS in all its original glory, this tour is it.

Stellar performances are the norm for this show but there were a number of standouts. English Bernhardt as Cady is heartbreakingly earnest and engaging. As the reigning queen of high school, Nadina Hassan plays Regina with incredible vicious grace. Perhaps my favorite performances of the evening were from Samuel Gerber as Damian, Lindsay Heather Pearce as Janice and Morgan Ashley Bryant as Karen. Gerber is perfection as the young gay man who makes his own fun and supports his friends with love. As Janice, Pearce embodies past hurt and a thirst for personal vengeance that is palpable. Bryant plays Karen as genuinely sweet and obtuse, a self knowing character one can't help but love. The entire cast is fantastic and I couldn't help but notice that they were in the roles because of their personal talent and not for body type, something I found extremely refreshing.

I highly recommend grabbing a ticket to MEAN GIRLS, but I'd also ask that parents look closely at the material before bringing younger children to the show. I saw quite a few kids under 10 in the audience on the night I attended. While language is pretty mild, the action and situations in the show are clearly teen to adult in nature. My mid teen grandson was overjoyed by the show but cringed at seeing younger children in attendance. You have a lot of chances to see this hilarious show!

MEAN GIRLS

Book by Tina Fey

Music by Jeff Richmond

Lyrics by Neil Benjamin

Broadway In Austin

Bass Concert Hall

August 2 - 7

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.

Tickets: $32 and up, https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2189639®id=141&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Ftexasperformingarts.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1




From This Author - Lynn Beaver

Austin native Lynn Beaver has been active in local theatre for the past 25 years. She saw her first play in 1974 and fell completely in love with the performing arts. Lynn has been a director,... (read more about this author)


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