Review: ‘Bitter Women’

Cynical is a more fitting adjective for the cast of characters in playwright/director Justin Tanner's "Bitter Women," at the Cast Theatre. This slice of life centering on living, renting and roommates in Los Angeles should be familiar to anyone who remembers moving to the city for the first time and, albeit sadly, learning the ropes.

Cynical is a more fitting adjective for the cast of characters in playwright/director Justin Tanner’s “Bitter Women,” at the Cast Theatre. This slice of life centering on living, renting and roommates in Los Angeles should be familiar to anyone who remembers moving to the city for the first time and, albeit sadly, learning the ropes.

When naive Nancy (Adrienne Stout) arrives in Los Angeles with just enough for a little apartment in Silverlake, little does she know she’s about to encounter the roommate from hell (Laurel Green), a middle-aged landlady who is too nosy for her own good (Ellen Ratner), a not-so-loving lesbian couple (Thea Constantine and Shari Galan) and a sexy, opportunistic handyman (Brendan Broms).

This group plays havoc with Nancy’s nerves and naivete. However, along with a dingy quality that is sometimes overdone, Stout injects manipulating characteristics into Nancy’s shy demeanor, giving the audience hints that she could be trouble if leaned on too hard.

Green’s bitchy roommate is very real, but the flamboyant scene-stealer has got to be Constantine’s colorful Mona, the lesbian whose at-home business is phone sex.

Overall, “Bitter Women’s” appeal is the abundance of conversational chit-chat. Also, the play is performed without intermission, a nice choice that keeps the pace lively. This is Justin Tanner’s sixth production at the Cast, and although it may not play in Duluth, Angelenos will know what it’s all about.

Bitter Women

Cast Theatre, Los Angeles; 42 capacity; $10 top

Production

Diana Gibson and Andy Daly for Ted Schmitt's Cast Theatre present a world premiere written and directed by Justin Tanner.

Creative

Set design, Andy Daly; lighting, Peter Strauss. Opened Oct. 1, 1993; reviewed Jan. 7, 1994; runs through Feb. 12.

Cast

Mrs. Couch - Ellen Ratner
Nancy - Adrienne Stout
Dave - Brendan Broms
Angela - Dana Schwartz
Mona - Thea Constantine
Kim - Laurel Green
Coco - Sheri Galan
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