What's a girl to do when she realizes the sorority sister of her dreams won't leave her husband? Why, hop on a train for the pre-Stonewall Greenwich Village, of course.
Based on Ann Bannon's series of lesbian pulp fiction novels, “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles” was originally produced off-Broadway by Lily Tomlin. Penned by Kate Moira Ryan and Linda S. Chapman, the play is in the same vein as Richmond Triangle Theatre's previous show, “Pulp,” only without the music.
Laura, played by Kerry McGee, is a lesbian just off of the train and getting used to both New York City and being out in the open with her sexuality. Justin Amellio puts in a hilarious performance as Jack, the gay best friend of Laura who shows her the ropes of the big city. Together McGee and Amellio work quite well, but once other characters are added to the mix the show runs into trouble.
Heather Falks is fine as Beth, the lover who wouldn't leave her husband, but she plays the role with a sincerity that doesn't match McGee and Amellio, who treat the text as a humorous exploration of a woman becoming comfortable with her own sexuality. Emma Mason's performance as the jaded title character is flat. Even in scenes where she gets in heated arguments and chokes another character she stays unexcited and keeps her voice monotone.
While the comedic scenes are quite funny, the dramatic scenes fall apart. The show can't decide whether it wants to be a drama or a melodrama, and can't connect with the audience because of it.
Technically, the show works. John Knapp's multitiered set is an excellent fit for both the play and the space constraints of the stage. Derin White's costumes fit the time, as well as the characters. Noreen C. Barnes' direction, however, is all over the place. Each actor seems to have taken his or her own interpretation of the script and it really doesn't mesh. The end result is that the show works some of the time, but nothing comes together in the end.
“The Beebo Brinker Chronicles” runs through Oct. 9 at Richmond Triangle Players, 1300 Altamont Ave. Tickets cost $20-$25. Call 346-8113 or visit www.rtriangle.org for information.