Theater Wit Presents HURRICANE DIANE Review — Sardonic Feast

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What’s a demi-god to do?

Humanity is on a collision course with nature that will predictably make human life—and a lot more—extinct in just a flash.  Having charted a path for these mortals before, Bacchus decides to cycle back into our world in the form of a green-hearted lesbian, Diane (Kelli Simpkins).

All she needs is four acolytes to begin her Godly quest—two for each arm.  What better place to find them than the suburb of Monmouth, New Jersey and a specific cul-de-sac where four women friends, who live in houses with identical floor plans, often congregate around one or another’s identical kitchen tables.  So explains Diane in her opening soliloquy at play’s start, adorned in her best Greek God fashions until poof—in a snap, she becomes the coveralls sporting lesbian landscape architect and gardener of every New Jersey housewife’s dreams.

Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
(from left) Lori Myers as Pam, Aneisa Hicks as Beth and Jazmín Corona as Renee

Welcome to playwright Madeleine George’s wickedly funny world where campy humor has us laughing so hard we tend to forget the existential angst that one can imagine first motored the playwright to pick up her pen. Don’t expect much character development here, but DO anticipate colliding caricatures of every human foible that has brought us to this moment in our deadly dance with Mother Nature.

Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
(from left) Lori Myers, Aneisa Hicks and Jazmín Corona
Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
Aneisa Hicks plays Beth and Kelli Simpkins is Diane
Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
Lori Myers (left) plays Pam and Kelli Simpkins is Diane
Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
Kelli Simpkins (left) plays Diane and Jazmín Corona is Renee

Theater Wit Assembles Top Notch Talent

DO expect to see four top shelf actresses whose every word, intonation and gesture comes off, in this writer’s opinion, as a laser-focused poke at our funny bones.  First there’s Carol (Carolyn Kruse) who has a regulatory compliance role in a pharma company that sounds like they are the ones who ushered thalidomide into the world.  She rebuffs Diane’s intentions to remove her boundary aka curb and regenerate nature in her yard as it was always meant to be.  In her identical kitchen, save the flowers that a Thing-like hand swaps out in each darkened scene change, is Renee (Jazmin Corona), a neighbor who happens to edit the landscape magazine that Carol worships, who is both knowledgeable of paw paw trees and other Diane landscaping details and --from her prior experiences—the passions of lesbian romance.  We also meet Beth, whom we know also has an identical kitchen, but with an outside yard gone to seed since her husband left her without as much as a fare thee well.  Such a poetry loving space cadet as she seems like low-hanging fruit to the likes of Diane.  It’s when Diane makes Beth her first conquest that we see just how much Diane seems to revel in her stage whispers with us, to share her scorecard of progress in her conquests along the path to save the planet.  In this writer’s view, it’s Lori Myers as Pam who is the scene stealer whenever we see her in one or another tight-fitting leopard inspired dress that accentuates her ample curves.  Clop clop clop she goes in her high heeled shoes ever poised to inject perfectly accented New Jersey wisdom into any conversation.  With Myers’ acting chops at her disposal, you might agree with this writer that the playwright would be in her rights to plagiarize and update Marisa Tomei’s depiction of the ticking biological clock in My Uncle Vinnyby having Pam render the sound of the doomsday clock marking our final hours.

 

How fun, and especially for the production team that gives us a thrilling rendition of the end of the world.

 

Oh--Is that really a spoiler?

Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
Carolyn Kruse plays Carol and Kelli Simpkins is Diane
Theater Wit HURRICANE DIANE
Kelli Simpkins (left) plays Diane and Lori Myers is Pam

If you like your gallows humor sardonically flavored and overflowing with camp, Hurricane Diane  is a top pick for your time.

 

RECOMMENDED

WHEN:

Thru  August 14, 2022

Sundays - 2pm
Mondays - 7pm
Thursdays - 7pm
Fridays - 7pm
Saturdays - 7pm

WHERE:

Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont
Chicago IL 60657

TICKETS:

$ 18+

For more information and tickets visit the Theater Wit website.

CAST:

Kelli Simpkins as Diane
Jazmín Corona as Renee
Aneisa Hicks as Beth
Carolyn Kruse as Carol
Lori Myers as Pam

CREATIVE TEAM:

Playwright: Madeleine George
Director: Jeremy Wechsler

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Photos: Charles Osgood

Amy Munice

About the Author: Amy Munice

Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.

Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.

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