PTE Mainstage (Venue 16), to July 24
Winnipeg stage veterans Jennifer Lyon, Debbie Maslowsky, Jan Skene and Donna Fletcher are having a hoot in this blackly comedic, 90-minute (not 105, as per the program) musical with book by Sharon Bajer, and their enthusiasm is contagious.
The songs by fringe favourite Joseph Aragon (Illuminati) are great fun — tuneful, clever, and sentimental or show-stopping by turn — and their delivery by this quartet of musical-theatre pros is spot-on. Aragon taps into myriad musical styles — a highlight is the high-spirited gospel ode to the 12-step program ("Eight’s where you list off / the people you pissed off").
All the actors are grand, but it’s Maslowsky who really shines, whether it’s in the vampy Sweeney Todd-esque To Die For, the poignant middle-age lament I’m Ready, or the hysterical, semi-profane Burnt Bundt.
The action does flag a bit between songs, where the plot — four women counsel each other after killing their philandering therapist — can seem threadbare, and the irreverent tone sometimes rubs up uncomfortably against the character’s real issues.
But then again, what woman wouldn’t worry that her mugshot might highlight her crow’s feet?
— Jill Wilson
From the official Fringe Festival program:
Hersteria is a hilarious musical that celebrates the unlikely friendship of four women who come together after being betrayed by their therapist.
From the creative team that brought the sold-out productions Spelling Bee, Bloodless and Altar Boyz.
Featuring Donna Fletcher, Jennifer Lyon, Debbie Maslowsky and Jan Skene. Directed by Kayla Gordon.
Recommended For: General Audience
Length: 105 min.
Babes in arms permitted.