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The Theatreguide.London Review

Women of Manhattan
Old Red Lion Theatre      Autumn 2009

John Patrick Shanley's 1986 play presents three of New York's Beautiful People, women in their thirties who are beautiful (and indeed they are - excellent casting there), well-off, successful, fulfilled, and just a wee bit unhappy.

One has just been dumped, one is in a loving but unexciting marriage, one hasn't had sex in ages.

With love and not even the hint of cattiness, they take turns telling each other some home truths, offering advice and help, and taking what's offered without resentment.

(We'll also briefly meet a couple of the men in their lives, but the play belongs to the three women, and to their scenes together.)

By the end of the play two have taken steps that might even be forward, while respecting the fact that the third is not quite ready to move yet.

And everybody still loves everybody else, everybody is at least as happy as they were at the start, and all is well.

Talk about feel-good plays. I have rarely seen a play so infused with love for its characters, so that the author's desire that all turn out well for them is almost palpable and certainly irresistible.

This play was written within a year of Shanley's film Moonstruck (Cher and Nicholas Cage in love) and shares that same all-embracing warmth that is a delight to be part of and to float away from on your journey home.

And all credit to director Sherrill Gow for understanding this essential but fragile quality and for capturing it in this small-scale but heart-filling production.

Lisa Jedan (married), Clara Perez (dumped) and Kosha Engler (horny) give impeccable performances, treading the very delicate line that allows their characters to be witty and truthful without ever being bitchy, and leave us desperately wanting all three to live happily ever after.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review of Women Of Manhattan - Old Red Lion Theatre 2009


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