BWW Reviews: ArtsWest's ANGRY HOUSEWIVES a Bit Shaky but Still Fun
It's been quite some time since everyone's favorite Mom-laden punk band has graced a Seattle stage, but those "Angry Housewives" are back at ArtsWest. And while appearing to need a little more rehearsal and settling in time and still with a script that feels a bit hackneyed at times, the show with its ridiculous and infectious personalities still makes for a very fun night.
Set the way back machine to the mid 80's as we find four suburban women looking to break free from their hum drum lives. Bev (Heather Hawkins) is newly widowed and broke. Carol (Ann Cornelius) is divorced, almost just as broke and desperate for love. Jetta (Chelsea LeValley) is a new Mom with an uptight and controlling husband (Mark Tyler Miller). And Wendi (Janet McWilliams) is a bit of a dreamer who's just looking for her next big thing. So when Bev's money problems become too much, the four band together to do the only thing they can do to make some money, enter a contest for the best punk rock band at a local club, of course.
The show with book by A.M. Collins and music and lyrics by Chad Henry has a few script problems. The dialog can get a bit cliché and the story is about as predictable as a sit-com. And the production itself looked to need a bit more rehearsal time as its musical numbers were killer but its scene work and transitions were rocky at best. But I'm sure that will settle in time. But beyond all its problems the show is still fun and it's clear to see why it continued to run for so long back in the 80's and 90's.
The ensemble is terrific and obviously having a blast up there. The four male counterparts to the ladies are superb. Miller is delightfully out of touch and chauvinistic. So much so that I felt the audience turning on him at one point but he managed to get them back during his song of redemption. Jeff Orton as Wendi's sailboat obsessed boyfriend and Brian Lange as the club owner Lewd Fingers each nailed their characters and their duet reminiscing on their past love was a real crowd pleaser. And Trent Moury as Bev's teenage son and his lamenting doo wop number about his too cool Mom practically stopped the show. But it's the ladies who completely kill in the show with their hilarious Mom-centric punk style. Especially LeValley's amazing lead vocals and dimwitted character and Cornelius' sultry ode to her lacking love life.
Sure, the show wasn't rock solid the night I saw it but I have faith it'll get better with time and it still managed to be a sublimely silly rockin' good time. And so with my three letter rating system I'm giving "Angry housewives" a YAY on credit (which I'm sure they will live up to with all that potential). So go "eat your f***ing Cornflakes" and get out to catch the Angry Housewives before we lose them for another decade.
"Angry Housewives" performs at ArtsWest through May 24th. For tickets or information contact the ArtsWest box office at 206-938-0339 or visit them online at www.artswest.org.