The Girls Of “Bachelorette” Are Intense- Can You Handle It At SATE?

Cara Barresi, Wendy Renee Greenwood and Ellie Schwetye contemplate the infamous wedding dress in "Bachelorette" at SATE. Photo: Joey Rumpell

Cara Barresi, Wendy Renee Greenwood and Ellie Schwetye contemplate the infamous wedding dress in “Bachelorette” at SATE. Photo: Joey Rumpell

If you’re looking for a “submissive” girl for a new relationship, don’t seek out ANY of the women in Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble’s new offering, “Bachelorette.” In fact, any young man (or old man, for that matter) is likely to run screaming from The Chapel after the first few moments with this trio of mean girls who are the poster kids for bad behavior. Playwright Leslye Headland’s script is rough with the few moments of tenderness coming from the men (one man in particular) who invade this den of iniquity. Thanks to a dynamite cast, this squirm-worthy production entertains for the slightly over an hour we spend with the girls who aren’t exactly attending a sanctioned bachelorette party.

Wendy Renee Greenwood and Carl Overly, Jr. share a rare quiet moment in SATE's production of "Bachelorette." Photo: Joey Rumpell

Wendy Renee Greenwood and Carl Overly, Jr. share a rare quiet moment in SATE’s production of “Bachelorette.” Photo: Joey Rumpell

Although Ellie Schwetye as Regan has been chosen by the bride to be her bridesmaid, the other two girls, Wendy Renee Greenwood as Katie and Cara Barresi as Gena are a bit miffed that they haven’t been chosen to be in her ensemble. They have tagged along with Regan as the bride has given her- and only her- permission to spend the night in her posh NYC hotel room. Let the trashing begin (both literally and figuratively) as she invites the other two girls along. The bride-t0-be, Becky is ripped apart verbally being called everything from fat to unworthy of snagging an impossibly rich husband. Amid booze and coke and later some pills, the three girls reach the ultimate in poor taste when they discover the wedding dress and rip it as two of them try to get into the dress at once.

When the bride, Jamie Fritz, finally arrives, things get even more interesting in "Bachelorette" at SATE. Photo: Joey Rumpell

When the bride, Jamie Fritz, finally arrives, things get even more interesting in “Bachelorette” at SATE. Photo: Joey Rumpell

Gena takes off to find a tailor while Regan and Katie continue the party including the arrival of two guys Regan has had a few drinks with and foolishly invites to the proceedings. Jared Sanz-Agero as Jeff and Carl Overly, Jr. as Joe arrive on the scene and immediately attempt to get the already vulnerable girls into the sack. A trip to the emergency room ensues and then the arrival of the bride, played with subdued amazement by Jamie Fritz, and she proves to be as mean-spirited as her girlfriends. In fact, Joe is the only one in the play with anything resembling redeeming qualities. With occasional breaks for karaoke, the bulk of the evening is spent in the high rise which soon looks like a disaster area. It’s a hard-edged comedy that makes the movie “Bridesmaids” look like a sophisticated romp.

Jared Sanz-Agero gets cozy with Ellie Schwetye in SATE's "Bachelorette." Photo: Joey Rumpell

Jared Sanz-Agero gets cozy with Ellie Schwetye in SATE’s “Bachelorette.” Photo: Joey Rumpell

Director Rachel Tibbets has squeezed every ounce of intensity out of the raucous script. At times it really is hard to watch as the girls rip each other apart as they become increasingly drunk and the mean quotient goes higher and higher. Ellie Schwetye and Rachel Tibbets co-designed the set which puts the audience basically on the staging area of most of the plays at The Chapel while the open area that usually holds the audience becomes the large playing space worthy of the posh hotel room. Bess Moynihan’s lights add to the unusual ambience of the piece and Tracey Newcomb-Margrave is responsible for the “break-away” wedding dress.

Tough and, at times, almost sadistic, “Bachelorette” is fun in a “I want to turn away but I can’t” sort of voyeuristic way. This continues Slightly Askew’s “Season of the Monster” and, as director Rachel Tibbets says in her pre show welcome, this is definitely a look at the human monster in all of us- although hopefully not all of us bring it out in this exaggerated fashion. Catch “Bachelorette” at Slightly Askew Theatre Company through May 17th. Give them a call at 314-827-5760 for tickets or more information.

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