Off-Broadway at New York City Center Stage II
Molly Mae is determined to have a party to show off her new kitchen extension, despite just getting released from the psychiatric ward. She’s had a breakdown and her marriage is on the verge of one in this new comedy by Isobel Mahon, with direction by Amanda Bearse.
This eclectic group of woman, Molly (Gina Costigan) our woman on the verge and host, her controlling Mum, Carmel (Hayley Mills), barbie doll neighbor Chloe (Allison Jean White), Maeve (Brenda Meaney) the sassy/bold sister of Molly and Bernie (Klea Blackhurst), Molly’s new friend from the psychiatric hospital who has a bad case of germ-o-phobia, all have something to say, and you might think putting a group of women like this together along with their Irish brogues would be hilarious, and you’d be right.
As the party starts we see Molly in her beautifully remodeled home. Mum shows up and starts taking over, bringing her own fancy party food, because Molly’s would not be good enough, telling her what to say, when to say it and what to wear and pretending that all is perfect, right down to her stunning pink silk trousers, and Max Mara blouse. It's really no wonder that Molly is so insecure. The condescending neighbor Chloe shows up to Molly’s dismay. Mum puts on her ‘party face’ and does all she can to hide the family imperfections, but when Maeve shows up, Carmel's plan begins to unravel as the outward comedy gives way to some underlying sadness and family secrets of breakup, divorce and infidelity. Conversations go from casual to catfight and you'll wonder if peace will ever be restored to this this zany family?
This cast bring credibility to their respective roles. Mills is particularly spry, and moves about the stage like a woman half her age, and the veteran Blackhurst is a natural comedienne, as she obsessively seals everything in plastic wrap including her own shoes.
Adding to the appeal is a beautifully designed modern set (Jeff Ridenour) and costumes (Lara De Bruijn) which brought out all of the women’s personalities and moods from Molly’s drab frock, to Carmel’s fashion forward attire complete with slingback heels.
Party Face takes a look into the flaws of a modern day family and shakes the ghosts out of the closet in a humorous and sometimes touching way. Check out my special discount offer here, and see this before it closes on April 8, 2018 -ThisbroadSway 1/20/2018