To close its 30th season, the Phoenix Theatre just off of Mass Ave is now showing Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a collection of stories from sisters Nora and Delia Ephron based on the best-selling book by Ilene Beckerman. As a panel of five seated women (dressed in black) recite vignettes, the audience gets a 360-degree experience as artwork dotting the walls is incorporated into their stories.
Chopped up into 27 scenes (but still running just 1 hour, 45 minutes), the show’s main storyline of “Gingy” is read by Gayle Steigerwald. An ensemble of Cindy Phillips, Lori Raffel, Sara Riemen, and Milicent Wright add to Gingy’s scenes, and count anecdotes of their own.
Laugh-out-loud situations and dialogue touch on the complexities of when to wear white (“Just never wear white”), the perplexity of the sleeveless turtleneck (“Are you hot or are you cold? Make up your mind!”), and the dreaded sale rack as a teen (“You bought me an outfit for my birthday on sale?”).
Other stories weren’t so lighthearted, as issues of rape, divorce, and breast cancer were revealed as the women remembered what they’d worn during these particularly poignant moments in their lives.
A guy’s guy probably won’t appreciate the brilliance of bringing the obvious frustrations of the female experience to light, but this show is appropriate for women of all ages and would make for a great girls’ night out.
As the ladies told their tales, it sometimes seemed as though the audience was watching a live read-through or a rehearsal. At other moments, the timing of rapid-fire dialogue was spot on. Opening night is funny that way, and these talented women are sure to find their rhythm with each other and the audience throughout the run.
Arrive early, and grab a seat in the middle of the room to get the very best view of this performance.
The show's run has been extended: September 5–8 and 12–15. Thurs. 7 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $28 for adults; $18 for those 21 and under. Phoenix Theatre, 749 N. Park Ave., 317-635-7529, phoenixtheatre.org.