Aliee and Bettina's (sort of) Grown Up Sleepover
nytheatre.com review by Jason S. Grossman
August 13, 2012
Turn out the lights. Get under the covers. Get ready for Aliee and Bettina's (Sort Of) Grown Up Sleepover, a comedic performance art play written and starring Aliee Chan and Bettina Katie Warshaw. Rarely has a title been more accurate in describing a FringeNYC show.
The concept is simple: it's time for bed, but young pals Aliee and Bettina cannot sleep. They are overly preoccupied with what will happen to them as they approach true adulthood (twenty-six, gasp!). Their sleepover turns into a spirited examination into what the future holds for them. In what seems to be a largely autobiographical script, Chan and Warshaw speculate, pontificate and otherwise tease each other about their foibles. They ultimately challenge themselves to set out and embrace the unknown.
The show is enjoyable, because Chan and Warshaw have a lot to say. They bound about the stage (and into the audience) role-playing and playing dress up. There is rarely a dull moment. The creative team here has every intention of making you feel like you are on a (sort of) psychoanalytical adult play date, and they succeed.
While Chan and Warshaw are of a younger generation compared to some (me, for one), their reminiscences can still be appreciated. (There might one or two pop culture references that might be lost on older audience members.) What makes the show work is that these women are entirely candid in their storytelling. The partially improvised text adds fittingly to the atmosphere of the material.
And the women are very funny. Their natural charm shines through as they nervously anticipate what their adult lives might entail.
The format is not intended to be a typical linear narrative. Chan and Warshaw reveal unflattering secrets and shortcomings about themselves via an ongoing game of Truth Or Dare. They have boundless enthusiasm and cover a lot of ground, varying the dialogue from teenage pining to poetic prose.
Director Meg Bashwiner does a very nice job setting the environment for the performers. She lets them strut their stuff and facilitates a fast pace. Liz Bianco provides a colorful set with appropriately silly props. Lauren Parrish's versatile lighting design hits every mark, and Courtney Irizzary's costumes warmly compliment the proceedings. Michael Johnson's sound selections include upbeat pop songs that help set the mood.
You cannot help but wish continued success to Chan and Warshaw. And one can hope that in their individual futures, they will have the opportunity to collaborate again.