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Reservoir Bitches

While Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" oozed flop sweat and testosterone, Laura McGhee's "Reservoir Bitches" takes the same heist-gone-wrong scenario and flips it on its head, recasting all the familiar characters -- from the undercover cop to the homicidal maniac to the crumb in search of redemption -- as women. Result is a fast-paced show that never really aspires to rise above entertaining parody. While previously staged at the New York Intl. Fringe Festival, this Red Eye production comes from a company that generally specializes in the avant-garde but makes the transition nicely to lighthearted farce with an arthouse undertone.

With:
Ms. White - Cheryl Ronning Ms. Orange - Laura Coates Nice Gal Eddie - Ariel Dumas Ms. Pink - Emily Gunyou Jo Cabot - Georgia Hallman Ms. Blonde - Alia Mortensen The Cop - Katrina Hawley

While Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” oozed flop sweat and testosterone, Laura McGhee’s “Reservoir Bitches” takes the same heist-gone-wrong scenario and flips it on its head, recasting all the familiar characters — from the undercover cop to the homicidal maniac to the crumb in search of redemption — as women. Result is a fast-paced show that never really aspires to rise above entertaining parody. While previously staged at the New York Intl. Fringe Festival, this Red Eye production comes from a company that generally specializes in the avant-garde but makes the transition nicely to lighthearted farce with an arthouse undertone.

Emily Gunyou is a standout as the nasal Ms. Pink, and Cheryl Ronning tackles pivotal tough-gal Ms. White with a hint of Harvey Keitel’s filmic thief with a heart of gold. Georgia Hallman lends a pleasing note of callousness to ringleader Jo Cabot.

McGhee departs from the original script by having the women delve into self-exposition and therapy speak; while the device wears a bit, it’s undeniably funny to see gun-toting women offering up granola bars to one another in order to maintain their blood sugar, and a monologue by undercover cop Ms. Orange (Laura Coates) ends with an anecdote about menstruation that counterpart Tim Roth would be constitutionally unable to deliver.

Liz Josheff contributes funny short videos that split the scenes into bite-sized chunks, and Steve Busa’s direction focuses on pace and humor rather than any sense of real menace (though there is the required degree of gore).

The show appeals by smartly toning down the script’s inherent shtick, and on the strength of not pretending to be more than it is: a 90-minute riff on what was partially satiric and self-referential in the first place. At least the original film kept a straight face; one hardly imagines where to start in sending up, say, “Kill Bill.” The line between parody and self-parody can be hard to draw indeed.

Reservoir Bitches

Red Eye Theater; 99 Seats; $18 top

Production: Minneapolis, Minn. A Red Eye presentation of a play in one act by Laura McGhee. Directed by Steve Busa. Sets, Liz Josheff, Gary Johnson; costumes, Liz Josheff; lighting, Ron Albert; sound, Tom Kanthak; production stage manager, Paul Kardell. Opened April 20, 2007. Reviewed April 21. Running time: 1 HOUR, 30 MIN.

Cast: Ms. White - Cheryl Ronning Ms. Orange - Laura Coates Nice Gal Eddie - Ariel Dumas Ms. Pink - Emily Gunyou Jo Cabot - Georgia Hallman Ms. Blonde - Alia Mortensen The Cop - Katrina Hawley

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