No need for reality TV or Desperate Housewives reruns if you’re in the mood for a good dose of gossip and drama. Fleming Island’s The Island Theater presents The Women with an all-female cast that charms and delights the audience from beginning to end. Although male characters play a vital role in the plotline– they’re the much-discussed source of the characters’ heartache, misery, and security all in one—there are no male performers whatsoever. These ladies really pull it off!
Lovely Mary Haines leads a charmed life: a husband who adores her, an enviable lifestyle, servants, and two sweet children who are her pride and joy. Yet she’s living in a fool’s paradise. Her husband has fallen for scheming perfume counter girl Crystal Allen. Mary’s tight-knit circle of lady friends has one major downfall: they’re incredibly gossipy—especially Sylvia Fowler—so the news spreads like wildfire. Mary is faced with a difficult choice. Should she stand silently by her man in order to maintain her lifestyle or divorce him and risk losing everything… including the man she loves? Who can she turn to for sound advice and trust not to lead her astray or spread mistruths? Where’s a true friend when a girl needs one?
With a wild cast of characters, plenty of juicy drama, witty dialogue, and lots of laughs, The Women is a delicious drama perfect for a girl’s night out. Leave the kids at home; while there’s nothing outright vulgar, themes of adultery and sex make it inappropriate for the younger set but riotously funny for adults. Written in 1930 by American playwright Clare Boothe Luce, The Women offers audiences a social commentary about the silly, superficial lives of socialite women (with beautiful costumes setting the stage!). Yet its plot is equally pertinent to modern theater goers, tackling meaty material like hurtful gossip, adultery, betrayal, toxic friendships, divorce, marital roles, and so much more. There never was a truer commentary about how not to treat one another.
No hints what happens next, but it’ll keep you engaged from beginning to end. The Women is delightfully delicious and if you’re not adverse to a cat fight or two, you’ll love this production.
First-time actress Vanessa Hodgerson rocks the role of Mrs. Mary Haines. The local attorney masterfully crafts a likeable character the audience can’t help but cheer for. When the bed on set unexpectedly (and quite hilariously) collapsed during the production, Hodgerson retained composure and moved past it like a pro.
Beautiful blonde Samantha Eigenmann plays homewrecker Crystal Allen. The talented actress does a fabulous job playing a believable evil stepmother.
Insufferable gossip Sylvia Fowler is played by Misty Lewis Burt, a veteran of Georgia’s Bainbridge Little Theater. This is her first production at The Island Theater and she does an incredible job creating a memorable character who just can’t seem to stay out of everybody’s business.
Another favorite character is the perpetually pregnant Edith Potter, played by debut actress Angie Pineiro. This is her first role ever and she did so well. And of course there’s Abby Polli as cheery Peggy Day. This is her second stage production at The Island Theater and she plays her role well. I also particularly love Julie McKinney as Countess De Lage.
Other talent includes Carol Bickle as Nancy Blake, Isabella Erskine as Jane, Shelley Hayes as Mrs. Morehead, Jodi Smith as Miriam Aarons, Danielle Summerton as Olga, Phaedra Smith as Little Mary, Emma Navarro as Princess Tamara, and Theresa Buchanan, Shelley Finn, Stephanie Navarro, Audrey Ivy, Olivia Navarro, Lonnie Erskine, and Britney Cash as the Ensemble. The Women is directed by Tricia Williams (also Set Designer). Mac McDonald serves as Stage Manager and Whit Williams and Dave Baker are responsible for Set Construction.
The Island Theater is tiny, but this sweet community theater knows how to put on a good show. Don’t let their small size keep you from giving them a chance. It’s not the Times-Union Center and you’re not going to see a large-budget production here, but it’s so much more personal and intimate and the cast acts their hearts out without fail. I love the platform the theater provides for brand-new performers to pursue their dreams. The Women is full of first-time actresses who gave it their all and did an amazing job. I also love the time, energy, and dedication this theater puts into growing the theater community in Fleming Island.
Humorous, spirited, and engaging, The Women is a ton of fun. Leave the kids at home, grab a girlfriend, and head to Fleming Island to support local talent with a true passion for theater. The show runs from February 1-10th. There will be a cat fight or two. There will be tears. Yet there will also be redemption and a strong storyline that captivates you and leaves you hoping for an encore.