Theater Review: “Women on the Verge” take over the Greenberg
Director Carl Menninger, along with talented student performers, orchestra members and crew workers, brought the All-American Weekend audience to Madrid with the first few performances of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” a musical adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s film and the subsequent Broadway show.
The Departing of Performing Arts show continues for three more performances this weekend at the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre.
The musical centered around several women whose lives intersect in humorous ways. Central to the plot is Pepa, played by an entrancing Izzy Smelkinson, a sophomore in College of Arts and Sciences. As Pepa, Smelkinson often carried the show forward. She had the right amount of comedic timing and heartbreaking sincerity and a pitch perfect voice to match.
CAS junior Kendra McNulty played Candela and deserved major credit for her performance of “Model Behavior,” in which she was required to make several outfit changes while singing rapidly.
However, CAS senior Linda Bard stole the show as Lucia. Although the show is set in Madrid, she was the only member of the cast who succeeds in having an authentic Spanish accent. She absolutely nailed it, not breaking the accent even when singing. She had spot-on comedic timing as Carlos’s crazy potential mother-in-law.
Despite strong performances by the entire cast, the real star of this show was the brilliantly designed stage. The multi-level structure resembled a Piet Mondrian painting, covered in various square panels that seemed to be colored randomly. The panels opened to reveal props and closed to change the scene. Every inch of the stage was used productively.
“Women on the Verge,” though executed quite successfully, seems like an unconventional choice for the department, whose recent past productions include musical theatre favorites like “Rent” and “Cabaret.” The obscurity of the show, however, was quickly forgotten as soon as the overture starts, and the audience was transported by taxi to a different country and a different time.
“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” will be playing at the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre for three more performances this weekend. Tickets are available at american.tix.com and cost $10 for AU students.