Volume 94, Issue 44

Thursday, November 16, 2000


A conversation with... Sue Johanson

Same old Sandler

Play wimpers softly

Chowns knows his blues

Play wimpers softly

The Roaring GirlStarring: Jessica Shurman, Alison St.Clair, Jan Weir
Directed By: Scott Holden-Jones

By Ben Freedman
Gazette Writer

The Roaring Girl is a play set in Shakespearean London that relates the perils of greed to the predatorial nature with which men pursue women.

Ultimately, it draws the conclusion that women are the stronger and more insightful gender.

It's a telling story concerning a 'roaring girl' named Moll Cutpurse, who over the course of the play, restores romantic relations between the two central victims and stunts the scams of the antagonists.

The audience is forced to draw the connection between the avarice Alexander Wengrave and the manipulative, womanizing Laxton, who convinces (in typical gigolo fashion) the wife of the local apothecary to continue 'lending' him money.

While not all men are portrayed in this negative light, the majority of them in this play are. Thus, Holden-Jones creates a clear distinction between the short-sighted and deceitful males and the objectified females.

Although the females are preyed upon, they are by no means weak. The heroine, Moll Cutpurse, reverses the roles and proves that anything men can do, women can do better. She beats Laxton in a remarkably entertaining sword fight and convinces Alexander his son belongs with the woman he cares for.

The two dimensional portrayal of men in a script like this is difficult to pass off as anything other than extremist and outdated. Although the issue of gender equality will probably never be resolved in contemporary society, few would publicly argue that women aren't as bright and rational as men.

However, this performance had more problems than simply the script. With the exception of the shining star Jessica Sherman, who plays Mad Moll, the acting was mediocre. The moments of enjoyment didn't come often enough and attempts at emotional manipulation became melodramatic and contrived.

Frequently, monologues that were supposed to provide comedic relief become too serious and prove ineffective. As a result, the first act feels like a lifetime. However, the second act redeems itself, providing excitement and entertainment.

The acting improves and there are a number of thrilling sword fights that make it fun to watch. The play ends with a cliched, though moving scene, wherein all the characters realize the error of their ways.

Despite a brighter second half, Roaring Girl, with its outdated themes and bland acting, is certainly nothing to roar about.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000