special to The Charlotte Observer
Girls! Girls! Girls! is feminist flavored fun. So call your girlfriends and any boyfriends who have a sense of humor, because the Brawds are in town! The Brawdeville Women in Performance Art, from Wilmington, NC, are the first performers in the BareBones Theatre Group’s new SouthEnd Performing Arts Center. They usher in the new house with the energy of a dance party and the language of a platoon.|
The show is a series of skits that celebrate and mock the many aspects of womanhood. From the three-woman advertisement for Orthotricyclene to the herd of cows protesting increased milk production, the Brawds attack subjects particular to women in a manner that is not overly derogatory toward men. They also dance like wild women and show short, informative slide shows. The skits are framed as the story of a woman’s life, which is extraneous, as they succeed individually.
Some of the best pieces include "Magnolia," in which Joyanna Crouse tweaks Tom Cruise’s performance as a motivational speaker bent on empowering women. In "Upon the Meeting of Eminem and Gloria Steinem," Traci Dinwiddie masters the rap star’s lyrics in a war against the queen of feminism. Both parties surrender.
The skits are unpredictable and often hilarious. The cast assembles for a discussion of marriage that includes personal poetry and poignant hopes. There are parodies of Botox parties, of actresses, and of girls who fight when they show up at a party wearing the same dress.
There is also a political slide show about how a group of Nigerian women forced Shell Oil to act responsibly in their community. There is a warm and fuzzy slide show featuring black and white photos of girlfriends. And there is a stunning love song performed in Spanish by Dinwiddie, with English lyrics thoughtfully provided in the program. The play is full of nasty language and naughty behavior, and very many reminders of who much fun it is to be a woman.
The SouthEnd Performing Arts Center is a funky space with upside down lamps hanging from the ceiling. It is located on the backside of fashionable South End, with a lighted sign to guide newcomers. After five seasons of renting at the whim of others, BareBones Theatre Group has a home of its own, that it is willing to share.
Lynn Trenning, January, 2003