Bad Girls Good Writers
nytheatre.com review by Jo Ann Rosen
June 14, 2006
It's a diverse world, and people search for validation in different ways. Some work at being bad, others wear security badges, and still others opt to start a family. In Bad Girls, Good Writers, a play in four scenes written by Sibyl Kempson, the characters do all of the above, and the cast demonstrates what good acting can do for a script that still needs some threads tied.
It starts strongly enough with two bad-ass, edgy friends challenging one another. Quickly, it becomes a contest of who can wrestle the English language to the mat, beginning with full sentences dotted with swear words and ending with phrases composed solely of four letter words, with nouns and verbs easily interchanged. A man approaches, turned on by the exchange, causing the friends to unite and assault him in an excellent slow-motion stage fight. The women's fusillade ends, as does Scene 1, when Campus Security arrives and hauls the girls in.
Rolls Andre and Matt Bridges bring humor to their roles as officers when they deliver an unexpected course in nice-guy psycho-babble that convinces the girls that they will feel better about themselves if they are nicer to others. But the play begins to fall apart with the introduction of another campus co-ed who fabricates a pregnancy. This is not the fault of Sarah Elliott, who plays the part admirably. It's simply that the material pops up out of nowhere, as does the final scene in which the two women from Scene 1 appear as gentle mermaids who find and keep the other co-ed's abandoned baby—which, by the way, is made out of man-made materials.
Jennifer Gordon Thomas and Samantha Desz as the dicey friends give verisimilitude to the introductory scene. Gabriel Grilli, as the slimy guy, is terrific in the slo-mo fight sequence. Tying the entire ensemble together is Sarah Murphy who does a marvelous job as the narrator. Shoshona Currier aptly directs.