Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bachelorette

Rest assured that "Bachelorette" has absolutely nothing in common with ABC's "The Bachelorette." Whereas "The Bachelorette" is a dumb and pointless television reality show, Leslye Headland's new play about a bachelorette party gone to hell manages to be sharp, shocking and very, very funny.

29-year-old Headland penned "Bachelorette" as part of her ongoing series of plays exploring the Seven Deadly Sins. Although "Bachelorette" was dedicated to the sin of gluttony, there's also plenty of wrath, greed, sloth, lust and envy going on.

Set in a luxurious and pristine bridal suite, Regan, the bride's jealous and vindictive maid of honor, sends for former college pals Katie and Gena to crash and burn the bachelorette party. Katie and Gena were purposely not invited to the wedding due to their drug and alcohol abuse problems.

After an extremely extended discussion about how each gal approaches oral sex, they become increasingly reckless and mean-spirited. While indulging in champagne, cocaine, pot and pills, they make out with random strangers, deride the bride for being overweight, and, while performing a cruel joke, accidentally tear the wedding dress.

Except for a few isolated patches where the play suddenly feels like a bloated soap opera, it makes for an engrossing character study marked by black humor, emotional desperation and brutal honesty. In a way, it feels like the unofficial sequel of the film comedy "Mean Girls" that takes place a decade after high school.

Trip Cullman's production features excellent performances from Celia Keenan-Bolger, Tracee Chimo and Eddie Kaye Thomas.

If you go? "Bachelorette" plays at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre through August 14.
2162 Broadway, 212-246-4422, 2st.com.

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