BWW Reviews: 'BaBY GiRL' Comes Out at Empire Stage
In a cozy blackbox on The Edge of downtown Fort Lauderdale and the well-known LGBT-friendly neighborhood of Wilton Manors, the world premiere of local playwright Kim Ehly's "BaBY GiRL" was welcomed among a warm and supportive audience with a penchant for raucous laughter. The wine flowed freely during the held "curtain" at the start of the show, which may have aided the jovial atmosphere, and the intimate Empire Stage was the perfect host.
It seems that the intention behind this play, which centers around one girl coming out and coming of age, is twofold: to empathize with our leading lady during her struggles and to let us know that laughter, even at the hardest times, is in fact the best medicine. Kim Ehly has a valid and relevant story to tell here, but the comedic moments ring truer than the most dramatic. Although handled with care by both actor and director, there were merely slight sparks of honesty and poignancy hitting their marks throughout the evening.
Lindsey Fogey drives this play as Ashley, a girl who discovers herself and her real family along the way. While completely believable in the role, her interactions with notable family, friends and/or lovers during her journey played by funny man Clay Cartland and the witty Jessica Welch were the most dynamic. Local favorite Sally Bondi does what she does best with her motherly quirks that almost always land the punchline.
With the overall sense of community that was felt on that evening, Empire Stage surely has a strong and consistent base of patrons on which to rely as they continue to produce new and challenging material. "BaBY GiRL" runs through August 5th at Empire Stage located at 1140 North Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale.