OnStage Connecticut Contributing Critic
BERLIN, CT - This has been a particularly strong season at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in Berlin. Following their incredible production of The Last Five Years, director Kris McMurray heads back to high school with the play Vanities.
A bittersweet comedy chronicles the lives of three regional, small town girls. In 1963, Joanne, Kathy and Mary are aggressive vivacious cheerleaders. Five years later in their college sorority house, they are confronting their futures with nervous jauntiness. Later they reunite briefly in New York. Their lives have diverged- their friendship, which once thrived on assumption as well coordinated as sweater sets, is strained and ambiguous. Their attempts at honest conversation show they can no longer afford to have very much in common.
With an exceptionally strong cast and direction, this is certainly yet another highlight of the CT's local theatre season thus far. McMurray has assembled quite the cast for this one, Kristin Iovene is excellent as the conventional and naive, Joann. Meagan Palmer was shockingly good as Mary, and I mean shocking with the subjects of her conversation. Maria Pompile was also gave a fantastic performance as the head cheerleader Kathy, as well.
With a play about friendship, chemistry between the actresses is essential and here it feels genuine. In fact, I often assumed that these actresses were good friends off stage.McMurrary makes some very smart staging and design choices.
As for the text, I predicted that there might be some jokes that would fly over my head. And while some did, I found a lot of the play relatable. So much so, following the show I called an old college friend of mine to meet for coffee later this month.
Congrats to the cast and crew of this impeccable production that is a fine addition to the high standard at the CT Cabaret this year.
The show runs thru March 26th. For tickets and info, visit ctcabaret.com