Stellar performances in Uncommon Women and Others

Actors Workshop Theatre's latest boasts strong performances, even when the performance is pushed outdoors

Actors Workshop Theatre dress rehearsal for Uncommon Women. Photos taken Nov. 25, 2017. The play was staged Dec. 1-3 and 8-10. (Bart Cummins, TRU)

Actors Workshop Theatre dress rehearsal for Uncommon Women. Photos taken Nov. 25, 2017. The play was staged Dec. 1-3 and 8-10. (Bart Cummins, TRU)

Directed by Wesley Eccleston, a theatre professor at TRU, Uncommon Women and Others is quirky and, well, uncommon.

Uncommon Women and Others is a story of five girls who meet up six years after their college graduation. This story starts out with them catching up about the good ol’ days and moves straight into a full-on flashback. It takes us through their senior year, as they are trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.

Starring Hannah Allen as Kate, Kelsey-Lee Launier as Samantha, Kayly Erno as Holly, Ashley Hiibner as Muffet and Brittney Martens as Rita, this production featured an all-female cast. The performances in this production were all well-rehearsed and thoughtful.

Martens, who plays Rita, was a firecracker in this production. Although this character is sometimes overbearing, Martens gives her a unique charm that helps us forgive her crude mouth.

Chanelle Renee as Mrs. Plumm was one of the best performances of this show, capturing perfectly a quirky woman who is the house mother to these girls. This performance fits a woman of the early 1970s perfectly, with stories of her own youth intertwined in the storyline and awkward humor, it is impossible not to be dazzled.

The staging and direction of this play is simple and to the point. Although the girls addressing the audience is weird at first, it ends up aiding the sense of relatability and empathy to these characters.

One of my biggest problems with this play was the off-stage male narration that was giving us bits of intellectual conversation between scenes. It was an odd choice for a play starring only female characters to have this omniscient male voice narrating their lives.

The final 15 minutes of this production was interrupted by a surprise fire alarm at TRU. As the audience waited outside for the alarm to stop and show to resume, the cast finished the final minutes of the production outside for the audience.

This weirdly added something to those final minutes that gave these characters a raw emotional connection to us and to each other. Even without the lights or proper set, it gave a realistic quality to this show.

Overall, Uncommon Women and Others had good intentions, and characters that you grew to care about. Although it’s not the best play of the year, it’s still worth the watch.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and will finish its two-weekend run on Dec. 8 to 10. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at the Black Box Theatre box office in Old Main or by calling 250-377-6100.