Theatre

Naked in a Fishbowl @ Soho Playhouse, New York



cast list
Katherine Heller, Molly Knefel, Brenna Palughi, Lynne Rosenberg, Lauren Seikaly

directed by
Hugh Sinclair
If you read this on a Monday night, then you have to wait another whole week to see one of the funniest shows around. Naked in a Fishbowl is a hilariously spot-on serialized look at the lives of four female friends and their circle of acquaintances. The June 7th show was these collaborators first time back together as a group after performing from 2005 to 2007 in various venues. But the audience doesnt need to know any background at all to step into the fun.

Katherine Heller, Brenna Palughi, Lynne Rosenberg, Lauren Seikaly play longtime friends, one married with children, one divorced, one uncomfortable with newfound, albeit minor, fame and one yoga-instructing single woman. Together, they play off each other with an ease and seamlessness that must be rehearsed, but it is all performed improvisationally. The audience would never know, except on the rare occasions that they crack each other up, but even these feel totally authentic.
The show I saw on Monday concerned the four women getting ready and then attending a benefit event for Planned Parenthood. The interplay, the tardiness and annoyance, the question of outfits – it feels like you are spying on old, very funny friends who happen to be going through their own personal emotional issues.

Molly Knefel joined the cast as Alice, a younger cousin of Sara (Katharine Heller). There is some expository background to keep everyone up to speed, but it is given easily as if catching friends up on what gossip they missed out on. Two other women, DArcy Erokan and Daliya Karnofsky, are on the cast list and will probably join soon. If the ease with which the cast brought in Molly Knefel is any indication, there will be smooth introductions all around.

These women discussed age, childbearing, strappy shoes, sex, lesbian sex, ex-husbands and boyfriends, Sarah Palin, difficulties of motherhood, money issues, yoga as life force, and the changing nature of friendships without dropping the ball anywhere along the way. There were no pat jokes waiting to be reeled off, just interactions that were hilariously funny and sometimes touching.

There is none of the give-us-a-situation and give-me-a-feeling that screams improv to many people and has many of them running for the exits. Except for the minimal sets, this might be any play, or any play where the inmates take over the asylum.

All four women are amazing, creating well-rounded characters, and are gracious in yielding the floor and the laughs to one another. You get the feeling that even if there wasnt a house full of constantly laughing, applauding people, these four actors might still get together every Monday night at 7 PM, just to make each other laugh.



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