Southern Charm Mixes With Southern Sarcasm At Stray Dog Theatre’s “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress”


Shannon Nara, Eileen Engel, Sarajane Alverson and Frankie Ferrari dishing the dirt during “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” at Stray Dog Theatre. Photo: John Lamb

Five bridesmaids get together after the wedding and dish on the bride, the groom, and life in general in “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” at Stray Dog Theatre. Reminiscent of a lot of similar Southern comedies featuring female casts, it reminds me most of the great play, “Vanities” (I wish someone would produce that one again). Film and TV writer kingpin, Alan Ball, wrote this laugh filled comedy and the Stray Dog cast squeezes every laugh out of the script.


The girls of “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” at Stray Dog Theatre. Photo: John Lamb

The reception is at the bride’s family manse and her sister, Meredith, explodes into her own room ticked off about something only to run into the ditzy Frances already seeking refuge there. They begin to commiserate as the other ladies eventually enter- all trying to avoid the party, the people and the awkward occasion. Seems that none of the ladies, including the sister, can understand why they’ve been chosen as bridesmaids since none of them like the bride and feel the bride doesn’t like them.

Sarajane Alverson leads the way as the calm, cool and almost collected voice of reason as Trisha. That doesn’t hold her back from dishing the dirt with the rest of the girls. She really is a fine actress who tackles a wide range of roles with depth of character- even in a silly little comedy like this one. Eileen Engel as Frances, is the typical uptight Southern Belle  as she reminds everyone constantly that “she doesn’t drink, do drugs (fill in the blank) because she is a Christian.”


Sister of the bride (Lindsay Gingrich) has conspicuously changed into more comfortable tennis shoes as the girls of “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” continue ignoring the reception going on outside. Photo: John Lamb

Shannon Nara delights as a flaky Georgeanne who, at one point declares that she “may be a bitch and may be a slut- but she has her standards.” Lindsay Gingrich is the disgruntled sister Meredith and, despite being sister to the bride, has no problem bashing her as much as the other ladies do.

Frankie Ferrari is wonderful as the lesbian sister of the groom who has a wry, dry sense of humor and quips her way through the funny script. Rounding out the cast is Kevin O’Brien as one of the boys they all seem to have had relations with of one sort or another and he, for some reason, shows up in the room at play’s end and hooks up with Trisha.


Last minute touch-ups at the vanity mean nothing as the ladies never quite make the reception in Stray Dog Theatre’s “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress.” Photo: John Lamb

As a Southern pastiche almost like one of Ball’s more famous sit-coms, “Designing Women” with a slight mix of the Cybill Shepherd comedy he wrote, this works for an evening of fun and light entertainment that keeps the audience laughing all night long. Stray Dog Artistic Director, Gary F. Bell has directed the show with an emphasis on those laughs and keeps the play moving at a good pace. Eileen Engel does double duty as costumer and has managed to make five of the ugliest bridesmaids dresses you’re likely to see- no matter how many weddings you’ve been in. Mr. Bell also designed the effective set and Tyler Duenow’s lights enhance the proceedings.


The ladies pose during the finale of “Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” at Stray Dog Theatre. Photo: John Lamb

“Five Women Wearing The Same Dress” sparkles with a charming cast who really deliver the goods. They make the most of the behind-the-scenes look at bridesmaids letting it all hang out after a wedding none of them would have attended had they not been in the wedding party. You’re invited- it plays through June 25th at Stray Dog Theatre. Give them a call at 865-1995 for tickets or more information.

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