Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: (Montreal) 4 Girls 4 Ever (Fringe)

Fast-Food with Quirks
by Caitlin Murphy

Fans of The Breakfast Club may be dismayed to realize that next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the brat-pack cult-flick. Yes, you have officially crossed over from the benign process of getting older, to the complex reality of aging. 4 Girls 4 Ever, written by Ned Cox and Alexandria Haber, and heavily inspired by the film, though not without its quirky charms, still falls a little flat.

Directed by Jen Quinn, the play features an all-female cast of Breakfast Club counterparts – Debbie, 'the brain', Irish, 'the baddie', Missy, 'the princess', and Claire, 'the basket-case' – a rag-tag bunch who also came to be friends through sharing Saturday detention. In a sort of textbook case of 'situation comedy' the play sees the four women get accidentally locked in a classroom together at their 25th highschool reunion. And what ensues is largely what you'd expect – the women bond, bitch, break down, then bond anew. They reflect on what has been, and try to reconcile what's come to be. Oh, and they can't get cellphone reception, of course, and there's a blackout at one point.

4 Girls 4 Ever is light, entertaining and enjoyable enough, with that fast-food familiarity that makes it easy to go down. Most of the plot, conversation and humour are pretty pedestrian and predictable. That said, the piece is beautifully enlivened and elevated by its very seasoned, skilled and spirited cast, particularly Jane Wheeler and Fanny La Croix, who manage to mine quite a bit of pathos and authenticity from their self-consciously stock roles. Wheeler offers up a moving mix of regret and resignation, and La Croix's committed doe-eyed naivete was very funny throughout.

Though there was nothing terribly disappointing with 4 Girls 4 Ever, there was nothing terribly uplifting either. Ultimately, it just felt a little staid, a little stale. And a bit like watching players who are better than the game.

June 6 - 19

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