rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 03/13/2005
Five Women Wearing the Same Dress - A Fly on the Wall Perspective
by Gary Hill

Having been one of those people that has always wanted to be a "fly on the wall" viewing some juicy human interaction, Alan Ball's "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" fulfills that fantasy and more.  You're placed into the bedroom of Meredith after the marriage ceremony of her "perfect" sister Tracy.  It is here in the bedroom that the five bridesmaids escape the tedium of the reception, the taunting of Tracy and her mother, and the alluring charms of that gorgeous "cad" Tommy Valentine.


In their private haven, the girls let down their hair and expose their inner most secrets.  They talk about cute boyfriends, deceitful ex-lovers, boring husbands, AIDS and the "villain of the story" Tommy Valentine.  There is a bit of raunchy language and the topics move to some very dark aspects of life.  Yet, Ball intersperses those moments with hilarious lines which give the play its charm.   


New American Theater production of "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" is outstanding.  The interaction of the actors cast as the bridesmaids is smooth and lively.  They each deliver a performance that is filled with emotion which captures the imagination and brings their characters to life.


Makeesha Sharp plays Frances, the bride's deeply religious cousin who passionately proclaims not to drink, smoke or use drugs.  Katie Johnston plays Meredith, the rebellious younger sister of Tracy who reveals a deep dark secret.  Marissa Noel Swanson plays Trisha, Tracy's best friend and most "negative" influence.  Maria Barwgen plays Georgeanne, who thinks she is married to the wrong and believes she can use the wedding to seduce an old love.  Jeny Wasilewski plays Mindy, the groom's lesbian sister who can put away the food and never gain weight.


Jon Lehman plays Tripp, who character is abruptly inserted into the storyline which changes the dynamic of the play from the playful "girls pajama party" atmosphere to a one-on-one romantic banter between Tripp and Trisha.  Here it seems the play loses it focus, but the performances by Lehman and Swanson keep up the lively pace.


My hat's off to NAT.  This performance is a must see.  It's funny, it's sad and it's entertaining.  I had to see it twice because I was laughing so much I missed a number of lines. 


Five Women Wearing the Same Dress plays through April 3rd.  Tickets are available by calling the NAT box office at 815.964.6282.

Contact Information
New American Theater
118 N Main St
Rockford, IL 61101
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