Thursday August 16 9:54 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

"Nice Girl" - Review by Alan Bresloff

NiceGril.jpg

Josephine is working as a secretary and one day at break, starts a friendship with a co-worker Sherri ( an incredible character study by Stella Martin, who adds a lot of spice to the story). Sherri is a divorcee, with a child (but her ex has custody) and is involved romantically with a “sorta” married man. With the power of having a friend, Josephine begins to come out of her shell and become the woman that she always wanted to be. When shopping at the butcher shop, she runs into the butcher, an old classmate of hers, Donny (played to perfection by Benjamin Sprunger) who is going through some changes in his life as well.

Sherri and Josephine go out bar-hopping and Josephine meets up with Donny, who offers to drive her home. They talk and talk and while neither one of them wanted to go to their high school re-union, having each other to lean on gives them cause to face their classmates. It is a date. Sherri is excited for her new friend, and volunteers to go shopping with her for a “sexy” dress and come by to help with her make-up. When Donny comes to pick up Josephine, Sherri changes her mood and becomes very close to Francine ( Jo’s mother).

I cannot let you in on some surprises that take place in relationships, but will tell you that the reunion did not go well, and that Josephine and Donny ende up going to a movie instead. Afterwords, they talk and open up to each other about who they are and where they have been and might be going in life. This may be the turning point in their lives as they figure out who they are and let go of the person they might have been or were supposed to become. They make a date for the following Saturday night- Donny will prepare a special dinner for the woman he enjoys being with.

In the final scene of the story, Josephine sits on the porch waiting for her date, when her mother comes out to speak with her. Jo says she is ready to leave her mother for good and to start her life anew ( before it has passed her by) and her mother, at last agrees to let her go. Prior to this scene, we did have another scene involving Donny that leads up to this one, and as the lights dim down, we see headlights heading up the driveway. Each of us will take something away from this play, and it may be different for each. If you are a happy ending person, the headlights will be Donny and Josephine will have the life she was meant to have! If you are more of a negative person, the lights will be Sherry coming to console her friend! You be the judge!

This production is skillfully directed by Lauren Shouse on a masterful set by Lauren Nigri. Raven continues to amaze me with the use of their small stage and the sets that they create (very realistic). Noel Huntzinger’s costumes are very 1984 and Rebecca Jeffords lighting is wonderful. Eric Backus handles the sound and original music, which fits the mood of the play- there is a Sinatra tune, but it is there for good reason, and John Buranosky had assembled some great props that are truly 1984.

“Nice Girl” will continue at The Raven Theatre located at 6157 N. Clark Street ( at Granville) through March 11th. This is on the East stage, the larger of the two, with performances as follows:

Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 3 p.m.

Running time two hours including a 15 minute intermission.

Tickets range from $38 and there are student, senior and military discounts. They can be purchased at the box office, by calling 773-338-2177 or online at www.raventheatre.com

The theater does have free parking in the lot adjacent, plus there are free street spaces as well as some metered ( check the boxes to make sure). Public transportation is easy as the bus stops right at the door.