The Women

By Clare Booth LuceThe Women by Clare Booth Luce

Directed by Jim Schneider

At Circle Theatre, Oak Park, IL

Dated women’s play has fabulous costumes, hats, wigs and a terrific 30’s art deco set.

Circle Theatre’s ambitious production of former Congresswomen and Ambassador to Italy, Clere Booth Luce’s (1903-1987) 1936 comedy, The Women,  with an all-female cast that depicts the pampered lives of  Manhattan socialites where gossip and man hating is a favorite sport, is a good looking comedy.  In a male dominated world of the 1930’s, we witness a kaleidoscope of women and the roles they play as they struggle for love, position and power and, through compassion, bond together in friendship.

The Women by Clare Booth Luce

From the dazzling period-perfect costumes including hats and wigs (design by Elizabeth Wislar) on Bob Knuth’s wonderful 30’s art deco set, The Woman unfolds as a worthy attempt to capture the decadent rich girl’s world where gossip and male infidelity are tolerated since men can’t help themselves – it’s their nature according to Clare Booth Luce and her tribe.

The Women by Clare Booth Luce

Director Jim Schneider’s cast of 18 women had trouble trying to land the acidic comedy from Luce’s stinging dialogue. The fast talking and over-the-top hyper acting by most of the cast made much of the comedy fall flat. The sameness and high-pitched vocals from many of the cast became tedious very quickly. Lack of comic timing lead to funny lines being thrown away. Silliness and over acting hurt the production that also suffered from being much too long and slowly paced.

The Women by Clare Booth Luce

The out dated script and the stereotypical characters made for a long evening. Only Jhenai Moots  seemed to properly play her role as  Mary who finds out her husband of 12 years is having an affair. The audience at the performance I attended seemed split with the women liking the show and the men bored out of their minds. Luce’s script sure aims zingers at us guys. I believe The Women is a “girl’s night out” show. Best leave the guys home to watch the Cubs or White Sox.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: July 8, 2011

Jeff Recommended

For more info on The Women page on  www.theatreinchicago.com

At Circle Theatre, 1010 W. Madison St., Oak Park, IL, www.circle-theatre.org, tickets $22 – $26, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 3pm, running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission, through August 14, 2011