A girls’ weekend goes off the rails when three of the women plot secret rendezvouses and a snowstorm traps them in their cabin and jams up the signals to their beaus. This is Girls’ Weekend and it is currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre.
Karen Schaeffer’s script felt more like a draft. It definitely has potential and the show’s farcical moments generate a bit of whimsy and amusement. But the play’s first act felt more like a sitting room drama as the set-up was done a bit too quickly which necessitated extended filler conversation that didn’t do much to advance the plot. Likewise, not all of the show’s arcs are completely or satisfactorily wrapped up.
That being said, the talents of a capable director and cast managed to maximize the script’s strengths and downplay its weaknesses.
Jon Flower provides a steady hand with his direction. He made good use of the theatre space, well positioning his performers so they could always be seen which was especially vital when multiple sight gags occurred simultaneously. He also had a good sense of physical timing with the jokes with door slams and quick hiding of personages. Flower pulls some solid performances out of his actors though I did think the pace could have been stepped up and cue pickups tightened at a few points.
The glue holding this play together is the triumvirate of Laureen Pickle, Heather Wilhelm, and Sara Scheidies. These three actors really have some splendid chemistry and genuinely feel like they’re old friends. Each takes full command of their individual arcs and nail their moments with hilarity and/or intelligence where the moment calls for it.
Laureen Pickle is a lushful busybody as Dot. She’s always up on the gossip whether it’s by discussion or eavesdropping and she guzzles wine like an SUV guzzles gas. Pickle also has an incredible sense of physical comedy as she handles most of the play’s physical jokes due to her character being slipped a mickey. Whether she’s faceplanting into a plate of lasagna or being rolled on the floor like a ball, Pickle provides some of the show’s most humorous moments.
Heather Wilhelm’s Meg strikes me as the leader of the group. Meg has a very blue-collar nature and a forceful personality which lets her easily and readily take charge of any situation. She certainly thinks fast under pressure, but isn’t necessarily wise under pressure as her reactions cause more chaos as opposed to resolving it.
Sara Scheidies’ Carol appears to be the most levelheaded member of the friends. Her rendezvous is the most innocent of the play since she’s just trying to conceive with her husband. She also serves as the protector as Carol tries to protect the others from some of their foibles like dumping some pot after the police show up at the door. Arguably, she also gets the show’s best running gag with her seeming inability to recognize her husband in bed.
Joey Lorincz scores again with another expertly designed set. His rustic looking wood combined with the props and set dressings of Jenny Cupak-Carroll make the cabin feel natural and real. I was especially impressed with Lorincz’s bay window and the effect of snowfall he had shining through it. Jon Flower adds some ambient sounds such as crashing items and breaking dishes. Todd Uhrmacher’s costumes suit the personalities of the characters with the torn jeans and casual wear of Meg and the business wear of Carol being particular standouts.
In spite of a few shortcomings, Girls’ Weekend does provide some yuks especially in the show’s farcical second act and is well fueled by the energy of its three leads.
Girls’ Weekend runs at Bellevue Little Theatre through May 21. Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the Box Office, at blt.simpletix.com, or calling 402-413-8945. Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.