Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues Theatre Review

From left to right; Keenan Henson, Tom Pilutik, Katie Locke O'Brien and Jason Drumwright in "Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues"

  

    The indefatigably popular “men from mars, women from venus” theory finds a slightly abberant home in Matt Morillo’s Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues.  The show- which premiered Off-Off Broadway in NYC, then graduated to Off-Broadway and found a popular run in Australia- has leapt its way across the country for a six week run at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood.

  
    An anomaly in form, Angry Young Women… is presented in a series of five vignettes that are two-part monologue, three-part scene.  Ranging in topic from g-strings and ass cracks (or coin slots) to birth-control-dilapidated hormones, each offers a small perspective into the larger donnybrook of feminine discontent; the entire show runs a modest eighty-five minutes. 

From left to right; Tom Pilutik, Brooke Hasalton and Katie Locke O'Brien in "Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues"

   
    The show itself seemed very successful in its appeal to the full house audience that surrounded me; an excited woman behind me averred “That was simply the best, the absolute best show I’ve seen” as we huddled out the door.  There seemed no lack of laughter through each vignette, and the length served well its possibly-intended purpose of avoiding the belaboring of the issue at hand. 


    As much as I hate to quell the hype, I did actually find the play itself quite banal in its resurrection of familiar themes and age-old arguments.  How many romantic comedies will it take to tire the ol’ “men just don’t understand us women” concept?  Yes, men tend to prefer sex over romance.  Yes, women have an array of unpleasing hormonal injustices that don’t compare to that of men.  I should hope by now that we’ve all seen this before.  I can’t imagine someone finding this material shockingly new.

         
    There were, however, a few circumstantially comedic moments throughout.  In Part III: Unprotected Sex, Joe (Tom Pilutik) and Brian (Keenan Henson) find themselves trapped in a whirlwind of unpredictable emotions as Brian’s girlfriend Rachel (Jessica Moreno) responds to bipolar emotional changes that result from her having recently started birth control.  While Joe and Brian try to balance watching the game on tv with discerning the appropriate responses to Rachel’s wildly uncontrolled emotional changes, it becomes quite easy to get lost in the absolute hilarity of the situation.  Jessica Moreno dominates this scene with a fantastic portrayal of a desperate woman at the merciless whim of pharmaceutically-induced insanity.  This was truly the highlight of the evening.


Tom Pilutik as Joe, Keenan Henson as Brian and Jessica Moreno as Rachel in "Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues"

    Jason Drumwright also stands out as Barry, the stereotyped soap opera star turned mediocre actor, in Part V: The Nude Scene.  As Jennifer (Katie Locke O’Brien) is attempting to morally persuade herself to disrobe for a career-building film, chaos ensues between the director, who is pressed for time; the DP, who hates everyone; and Barry, who is simple-mindedly content in just making sure his body looks good.  While his castmates govern the narrative of the scene, Drumright provides the polish with a series of underrated moments upstage oiling himself and flirting with Jennifer’s friend Katy (Jessica Moreno).

    A final highlight of the evening was an ambrosial set designed by Joel Daavid.  A static collage of brick, stoplights and subway signs provides a solid structure that becomes chameleonic to the needs of each vignette.  Even the details- like the NYC skyline upstage right that was easily affected by lighting changes- were hard to miss.


    Ultimately I imagine Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues will continue to provide amusement to the many that cease to tire from the subject at hand.  It is, afterall, a fun production and I imagine it’s no coincidence that the script has found many successful productions and even a publishing contract with Samuel French. 

Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans with High Class Issues opened Friday, October 3, 2008 and runs through Sunday, November 9, 2008 at:

Hudson Mainstage Theatre

6539 Santa Monica Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90029

Thursday - Saturday @ 8pm, Sundays @ 7pm

For reservations call: 323-960-5774

www.angryyoungwomen.net

Photos by: Ed Krieger

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