Friday, June 07, 2019

Laugh, Love and What She Wore - Little Black Dress - Musical Review

Little Black Dress - CAA Theatre - Toronto, ON - ****
Created by Amanda Barker, Natalie Tenenbaum, Danielle Trzcinski, & Christopher Bond
Music by Natalie Tenenbaum, Lyrics by Danielle Trzcinski, Book by Amanda Barker and Danielle Trzcinski, Directed by Christopher Bond
Runs until Jun 9th 2019, Continues on tour.
*Review based on a preview performance

A new girls night out musical has been sewed together with elements of sketch comedy, a bit of improv, catchy music, heartwarming moments, and a little bit of raunch (well, actually a big lot of dirty talk AND a male stripper!). Little Black Dress the Musical has been fabricated for a perfect drunken night out with the girls, a bachelorette's party without the actual need to get married (especially if you never want to, which is also covered as a song in the show!).

We meet Dee (a delightful Danni Davis) and her bff Mandy (always game Jennette Cronk) as they're introduced by Mom (Rachel McLaughlan) to the versatile little black dress as the one piece of clothing appropriate for any situation in life. Each song and scene brings us another piece of Dee and Mandy's lives with the little black dress as a threadbare link to a momentous time in their lives, as they weave through college, first interviews and jobs, first dates, bachelorette party, a wedding, pregnancy, parenthood, as the girls learn that life may not always live up to expectations, but the little black dress (and friendship), is all the support a girl needs. The scenes and songs have a sketch comedy structure but the songs about the little black dress strings it all together.

A super game cast lead by Davis in the central role that threads the musical together is surrounded by the versatile ensemble of Cronk, McLaughlan and Hromsco who all do multiple duties of various roles, sometimes within the same scene! Hromsco is particularly hilarious as the lone man on stage and used both for his body as the stripper while also playing dad, boyfriend, gay salesman, and taking on the brunt of the male jokes in a show designed for women, specifically drunk women, and Hromsco seem game for it all. McLaughlan, under various hilariously bad wigs, has the most varied things to do in the female cast and tirelessly changing dresses and wigs at a spitfire speed.

With some of the funniest songs working best when we see countering views (Like "I Knew It"(misconceptions of a first date), "Yes I Do" (to I do or not to I do), "F*ck All Night" (self explanatory) and "TV Birth vs Real Birth" (also self explanatory and cleverly directed with poor lone male actor Clint Hromsco running between both). The interludes probably had a extra beat at times due to the early preview (it was only the second performance) but I gather the pacing should improve as they get some more performances under their wings. The improv can be more self assured but with a winning Davis, there's a genuine charm and relatability to guide us on this silly fun girls night about a little black dress.

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