Girls Just Wanna Have
character showcase and musical sketch show work best when over-the-top.
Donnelly’s show at the UCB Theatre, “Amnesia & Attempted Murder,” seen
May 6, plays out an idea of showing several characters all revealing
their own flaws by focusing their attention and monologues on the one
character who’s not there to respond.
Donnelly mixes broader and bawdier characters with more loopy and spacey
ones in this show, which revolves around the characters all talking on a
videotape to be sent to their friend and relative, Jane, who’s in the
hospital with amnesia after falling or maybe being pushed down a flight
There’s Jane’s sister Colleen, who appears more than once as the show
progresses, and is definitely trying to fill Jane with her own opinions
since she’s become a blank slate. Also Jane’s hick-ish co-worker, who
also seems to have a lesbian crush on her. And Jane’s son and daughter,
both addled in their own ways -- he’s a nerdy D&D playing college
student and she’s got a bizarre laugh.
But it’s two other characters Donnelly has in the latter half of this
show that are more effective because they are more over-the-top -- Mrs.
Middlestein, Jane’s hard-drinking Australian former maid. This character
is like one part Benny Hill and one part Monty Python. Donnelly also
brings forth Jane’s neighbor, an opthamologist whose husband is also a
doctor, and who is insensitive with her comments about Jane’s plight.
There are other little nuances to Donnelly’s show among the succession
of all the characters and others they speak to offstage, that sneak up
on the audience for the show’s ending. All in all, the show, co-written
with director Amy Flanagan, is a good original showcase for Donnelly’s
“Amnesia” was paired up with “Girl Camp,” a laugh-out-loud funny and
crowd-pleasing musical sketch show that marries the tone of “Rocky
Horror” with the summer camp comedy of “Wet Hot American Summer.” The
co-leads, Leslie Korein and Marcy Jarreau, even manage to fit some
nuance in amid the broad comedy of the show, that makes it go over all
the better, and supporting players Sam Reiff-Pasarew and Elana Fishbein
(see review of her solo show
from 12/2/07) have a lot of fun with their parts.
Jill Donnelly’s show returns May 20. Girl Camp returns May 28 with
Charlie Sanders “Minnesota Muslim” (see
review from 11/15/08).