We're Still Hot
nytheatre.com review by Gyda Arber
February 12, 2005
We’re Still Hot is clearly designed to be a funny, raunchy show, a night of laughs for middle-aged women going through menopause (remind anyone of any other off-Broadway musicals currently playing?). Perhaps my lack of enjoyment stems from my distance from the aforementioned condition, but I suspect it has more to do with the lacking script, which unfortunately can’t quite bring itself to be truly entertaining or funny.
The show follows three high school chums who have come together to put on a revue for their 35th reunion. Kate, a failed writer, has created a script about menopause and enlisted the performing talents of Cynthia (who mysteriously declined a scholarship at La Scala) and Marnie, a successful businesswoman. Since the show requires four parts, they recruit cleaning woman/Hungarian actress Zsu Zsu to join them. Despite the straightforward plot, writer J.J. McColl spends much of the play manufacturing conflict where none exists (all four women have coincidentally slept with Cynthia’s husband at different points, and each is upset about their lives, though not because of any external forces). The majority of the simplistic songs (co-written with Rueben Gurr) add nothing to the plot (and seeing the women “rehearse” the numbers for the show quickly grows wearisome).
Even more distracting is the recorded or recorded-sounding music—during the curtain call the actresses gestured to an invisible keyboard player backstage that I suspect doesn’t exist. Shame on the producers for allowing such terrible music quality at $55 a pop.
Trapped in the muddle are four very talented singer/actresses: Marnee Hollis, Deirdre Kingsbury, Jane Seaman, and Deborah Jean Templin. Despite their considerable talents, they are unable to right this sinking ship. Is this all that is out there for women of a certain age? What a sad state of affairs, then, that these gifted women have no better vehicle for their abilities.
The audience, packed full of tourists, seemed content enough, enthusiastic with the novelty of attending an Off-Broadway show. But they, as well as the cast, deserve better. I haven’t seen Menopause The Musical, but I’m curious now to see if it handles the subject any better.