Off Broadway Review: ‘Linda’

Linda play review
Joan Marcus

Janie Dee, comic royalty on English stages, applies her comedic chops to the title role in “Linda,” a feisty feminist play by Penelope Skinner that originated at London’s Royal Court Theater. Well-cast and briskly directed by Manhattan Theater Club artistic director Lynne Meadow, the production is a bittersweet rallying cry for women who become invisible — and totally irrelevant — when they turn 50.

Related

Village Bike review Greta Gerwig

Off Broadway Review: ‘The Village Bike’ by Penelope Skinner

As played by the vivacious Dee, Linda is on top of her game as a senior advertising executive when she makes her pitch for a dramatic new marketing campaign for the Swan Beauty Corporation. Reaching out to the forgotten women over 50 years of age, she proposes launching a product line that taps directly into this neglected demographic.

Skinner’s opening monologue for Linda is a grimly funny compendium of all the indignities suffered by women of a certain age, from losing one’s sex appeal to disappearing from the stages and screens of popular culture. Once a woman becomes socially irrelevant, she also becomes invisible. “Let’s make these invisible women feel seen again,” Linda declares. “Let’s say to them:  Ladies? We know you’re out there! We see you! You exist!”

But having only recently aged into this category of untouchables herself, Linda fails to grasp the scope and force of ageism. “I’m not just pitching an ad,” she blindly crows. “I’m starting a revolution!”

It’s just as well that she toots her own horn, because no one in her charmingly eccentric household is paying the least attention. Husband Neil (a smoothly polished performance from Donald Sage Mackay) is busy with work and a fun-time pickup band. Her 15-year-old daughter Bridget, played by smart and sassy Molly Ranson, is agonizing over a monologue for English class. (Must it be Ophelia? As long as she has to choose from this “whine-fest for boys,” why not go for Hamlet?) And her 25-year-old daughter Alice (Jennifer Ikeda, delicious) is going through some behavioral phase that entails wearing a talismanic skunk costume and never leaving the house.

Dee conveys such genuine delight in Linda’s professional achievements (“I’ve done it! By god, Linda Wilde has done it! I’ve made it to the top!”) that her domestic lapses, while downright dangerous, seem forgivable. But the scribe is not only heartlessly funny, she’s also bluntly realistic, so it’s obvious that the moment of reckoning is coming for Linda.

Sure enough, Linda’s sandcastle comes tumbling down, and Dee’s empathic support (along with Jennifer von Mayrhauser’s power suits) are all that’s holding her up. But Skinner is merciless. At work, Linda is supplanted by Amy (Molly Griggs, terrifyingly beautiful), a shrewd young thing with shark’s blood. “I will honor your legacy,” she tells Linda, after taking over her office. (The handsomely detailed revolving sets are the work of Walt Spangler.)  In the marital bed, she’s displaced by Stevie (Meghann Fahy, ditto), who is half her age and pities her for being “insanely menopausal.”

But Linda is made of sterner stuff. “I will not disappear!” she vows. And while the playwright’s second-act strategy for getting Linda’s mojo back is seriously flawed, the final scene is one fine piece of writing.

Off Broadway Review: 'Linda'

City Center Stage 1; 299 seats; $90 top. Opened Feb. 28, 2018; reviewed Feb. 24. Running time: 2 HOURS, 15 MIN.

Production

A Manhattan Theater Club presentation of the English Stage Company production of a play in two acts by Penelope Skinner.

Creative

Directed by Lynne Meadow. Sets, Walter Spangler; costumes, Jennifer von Mayrhauser; lighting, Jason Lyons; original music & sound, Fitz Patton; video, Rocco DiSanti; dialect coach, Ben Furey; production stage manager, Cole Bonenberger.

Cast

Janie Dee, Meghann Fahy, Molly Griggs, Jennifer Ikeda, Maurice Jones, Donald Sage Mackay, Molly Ranson, John C. Vennema.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 3

Leave a Reply

3 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. nesslighbosubs says:

    Looking for a girl to get laid?
    See here

    http://tinyurl.com/jhmaera

  2. hilakonwha says:

    Looking for a girl to get laid?
    See this link

    http://tinyurl.com/h4xaaa4

  3. leuterreesub says:

    Looking for a girl to get laid?
    See this link

    http://tinyurl.com/gv29hko

More Legit News from Variety

Loading