Review: ‘The Glitter Girls’ at Upcounty Theatre

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The Glitter Girls, written by Mark Dunn and directed by Bruce Hirsch, is a hilarious romp through a mind game played by the wealthy Trudy Tromaine (Margaret Condon) on her “Glitter Girls”- a sisterhood of women from various backgrounds who have grown close to Trudy over the years.

The cast of The Glitter Girls at Upcounty Theatre: Bill Kassey, Evelyn Cannon, Jill Vanderweit, Darcie Porter, Margaret Condon, Carole Preston, Marena Gloth, Sebastian Smith Carrillo, and Jim Kitterman. Photo by Bruce Rosenberg.
The cast of The Glitter Girls at Upcounty Theatre: Bill Kassey, Evelyn Cannon, Jill Vanderweit, Darcie Porter, Margaret Condon, Carole Preston, Marena Gloth, Sebastian Smith Carrillo, and Jim Kitterman. Photo by Bruce Rosenberg.

Taking place in the fictional Hickman Hills, Georgia, this play exudes southern charm and humor. The playwright is a native of Tennessee and his experience with southern culture and its obsession with class, money, and appearances is apparent. He is especially adept at calling out the duality which many people employ to interact in their various social circles. As a native southerner myself, I felt this play could have easily been a story plucked right from the pedestrian gossip mill of Buckhead or Mountain Brook.

Condon delights as the wealthy Trudy Tromaine. She reclines carelessly across various set pieces as she lays out her scheme for finding out which of her “Glitter Girls” is worthy of a 16 million dollar cut of her fortune- to be disbursed immediately. She is attended by her maid Arpege Lacroix (Bill Kassay), a man who is disguising himself as a woman due to having run afoul of the law for reasons Trudy doesn’t know. His portrayal offers humor and levity and he is often the butt of other characters jokes. It is made quite clear in the narrative that the character is not transgender, but those who may be sensitive to the types of crude jokes that accompany a man presenting as female may want to proceed with caution.

The young Patty Wesley is played by Marena Gloth and, along with Sebastian Smith Carillo’s portrayal of Charlie Seaburn, the two make a believable pair. Kryss Lacovaro is Valerie Fairhope, the local “loose woman,” she takes this role in stride and is successful in garnering the sympathy of the audience by the end of the play.

Dowd Foster (Jim Kitterman), the husband of a deceased Glitter Girl, is sorrowful yet friendly throughout the proceedings. Corinne Culvert (Darcie Porter), a victim of abuse at the hands of her alcoholic husband, is appropriately resigned yet hopeful that his recent pledge of sobriety will hold. Mayvonne Rausch (Jill Vanderweit), a retired schoolteacher, interacts with the world as such and is regarded by Charlie and Patty, her former students, as a disciplinarian. Age has softened her quite a bit in Vanderweit’s portrayal.

Carole Preston and Jill Vanderweit in The Glitter Girls at Upcounty Theatre. Photo by Bruce Rosenberg.
Carole Preston and Jill Vanderweit in The Glitter Girls at Upcounty Theatre. Photo by Bruce Rosenberg.

Each performer fleshes out these unique characters and excels in injecting humanity into the over-the-top premise of this play. The character of Flossie Price, played by Carole Preston, stands out. She is every bit the country girl that the script calls for. Having come from the similar background of having been a poor mountain person as Trudy, Flossie provides a perfect comedic foil to Trudy’s wealthy excesses. Likewise, Evelyn Cannon’s portrayal of Mamie Ewing, wife of a Republican mayoral candidate, is spot-on in her hard-drinking, hardcore likeness to many staunch southern women. She is hilarious in her intractability.

Costume Designer Joy Gerst is to be commended for matching the women up to clothing that fits their personalities. Her creativity in dressing Arpege is especially appreciated. Set Designer David Jones provides us with the patio and herb garden where the play takes place. The characters find themselves exiled to one place or another throughout the play.

The Glitter Girls is just the type of comedy that makes you want to sit on the porch with sweet tea and good friends. Well-acted and complex, this play keeps you guessing right up to the end.

The Glitter Girls plays through August 25, 2018, at Upcounty Theatre performing at BlackRock Center for the Arts- 12901 Town Commons Drive in Germantown, MD. Tickets can be purchased online.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Is it possible to edit my name? Its Bill Kassay.. not Bill Kassey. Thank you! And thank you for the review!

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