Girl Talk: The Musical
nytheatre.com review by Nicholas Linnehan
January 7, 2011
Everyone likes a good laugh and a fun-filled, light-hearted evening. Girl Talk: The Musical, presented by Entertainment Events, delivers this. Yet, as an audience member, I could not help but wish that they found a way to go further. Thus, I was left unsatisfied by this production.
Girl Talk, written by Louise Roche, Tim Flaherty, and Sonya Carter, takes place on the night of the final broadcast of "Girl Talk," produced by the appropriately named radio station WPMS. The three women who host it are as diverse as the come. What follows is a night of blunt humor and men-bashing. The music is popular top 40 tunes and, while audience-pleasing, they offer little substance. I got the impression that the creators were trying to use their song selection to further the plot, similar to the way Baz Luhrmann did in Moulin Rouge. However they are only partially successful, as some of the lyrics fit, while some clearly do not. Also, the girls all chime in during the songs, which is fun, but does not make sense for the characters they are playing. For instance, I did not understand why the seemingly conservative radio host, Janice, would get down and dirty in a rendition of "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.
What was perhaps the most frustrating element of this show is that the actors are all capable of delivering, but the material is lacking so badly that they could not have done much more than they did. Priscilla Fernandez, who plays the sex therapist Laura, has incredible potential. She has great instinctual comic timing, but the script does not support the amount of frenetic energy she has. She is infectious, but she is trying so hard to create something that is not there that she seems over-the-top and downright buffoonish. Similarly, Sonya Carter (Janice) struggles to find her character. One minute, she's traditional and then she breaks Into a song that her this woman would never sing. However, she has a great voice that is stunning when she sings "Stay With Me Baby." The most developed character is Tina Jensen's Barbara. She plays a full-figured woman who is clearly over men and comfortable in her own skin as well. She can sing and and act, which make her the most believable. She brings the most honesty and vulnerability to her role, which makes her a breath of fresh air in this incoherent work.
On the night I attended, Exiene Lofgreen opened the show doing standup comedy. He is witty and sassy, which makes him hysterical. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him. He was the highlight of the evening.
If you want a night out with the girls and just to be silly go see this show. But if you want a night of real theatre, this will leave you disappointed.