Chicago Theatre Review
More Confusing Than Amusing
Mary-Kate Olsen is in Love – The Comrades
Slumped on the sofa, tightly wrapped in a blanket, Grace realizes that her life hasn’t exactly turned out the way she’d dreamed. The 27-year-old gets up every day, dresses, goes to work and returns home again to find Tyler, her unemployed, unmotivated husband, still sitting where she left him, getting high and playing violent war games on his Xbox. Grace’s mundane existence is interrupted only when a chorus of Amazing Girls pop in and out of her head. These four optimistic high school cheerleaders each have busy schedules and live their young lives to the fullest, anticipating their futures to be bright and exciting.
Then along come Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Since “Full House,” the twins have grown up to become celebrity media stars and fashion mavens. Coincidentally, they’re both 27-years-old and, like Grace, also looking for something more out of life. Mary-Kate falls in love with Grace and Ashley fixates on Tyler. Each couple give their new union a try, but all end up back where they began. There’s also a soldier who pops up every so often. He’s left the confines of the video game and spends time chastising Tyler for not being a good husband. Other than that, the story is pure bewilderment.
But for a few chuckles, some fine acting and a couple of pretty good characterizations, this play, staged by excellent young director, Derek Bertelsen, is more confusing than amusing. The script just doesn’t seem worthy of the hard work everyone’s donated. There’s a story here somewhere, but the hour seems more like a series of unrelated surreal paintings that’ve come to life. Sometimes the script resembles nothing more than a fever-induced nightmare. Angela Horn and Cydney Moody are excellent as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They have the superficial banter down perfectly and the two of them actually carry this chaotic caper. The four Amazing Girls (played by Laura Jewell, Jenna Liddle, Naomi Lindh and Taylor Wisham) are also very good delivering their various monologues.
Mallery Avidon’s 60-minute entertainment bears more of a similarity to an SNL sketch than a full-fledged play. Derek Bertelsen’s efforts are strong, as are his cast. The play is saying something about yearning, unrealistic expectations and about how disappointing a 20-something-year-old woman may find her life these days. There are many references made about the shallowness of pop culture, but when taken altogether, the confusion outweighs the enlightenment and entertainment of this piece.
Reviewed by Colin Douglas
Presented March 13-29 by The Comrades at the Apollo Studio Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Tickets are available by going to www.the-comrades.com.
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com.