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Bittergirl: The Musical

Review by Jane Ledwell

Performed by
Nicola Dawn Brook, Jay Davis, Sarite Harris, Marisa McIntyre with the band, Robin Anne Ettles, Charlotte Friesen, Astrid Foster, Devon Roulston

Directed by
Adam Brazier

Musical Director
Lisa MacDougall

Written by
Annabel Fitzsimmons, Alison Lawrence, and Mary Francis Moore

Supported by
Choreographer Christine Bandelow, Set and Costume Designer Cory Sincennes, Lighting Designer Gareth Crew, Music Supervisor Bob Foster

The show
Three women work through the stages of humiliation, grief, hope, revenge, and triumph after being dumped and discarded by a callow boyfriend/partner/husband. The over-the-top, fast-paced drama plays out in well-loved songs from the 1960s and 1970s, performed in throwback dresses and heels (or, in the case of the boyfriend/partner/husband, in plain black style — or rather less).

The Performance
This is a whirwind-fast ensemble show with little downtime between solid performances of songs audiences will know and love. One woman bitter, one angry, one soppy — and one man representing all three’s ex with delicious cheesiness. Displays of excellent comic timing too numerous to mention. The actors sing lustily while cross-training, while changing costumes, while performing pratfalls, while ugly crying, while drunk on tequila, or while gyrating in their tighty whities.

Best thing
The casting is perfect, playing on individual comic and singing strengths and excellent chemistry in the ensemble, and also filling the band with strong women performers.

Shortcoming
If there is a table at the Mack where my distance from the speakers are not-too-far, not-too-close, but just right to balance the band and voices, I haven’t sat there yet.

Final thoughts

A fantastically fun night out for genuine laughs on a grimly relatable topic for many women who have dated men — but with no wallowing in the earnest feels.

—Select dates at Confederation Centre of the Arts. Tickets/info: www.confederationcentre.com.

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