After a love triangle is exposed, Charlotte reflects on her choices in men, navigating her heart and her head, while negotiating love and integrity.
This day-in-the-life delicate six-person comedic feminist farce delivers solid insight into the tensions between holding on and holding back, according to lust and love.
Charlotte holds a PhD in feminist research and uses her vagina to author a popular blog about loving one man and having sexual partners on the side. She compartmentalizes sex, until one of her lovers and his entire family crash her Muskoka “life-partner” engagement party.
Playwright and lead role Sophia Fabiilli owns her roles as she unpacks traditional marriage tropes. Blending praxis and theory Charlotte references popular role models such as Carrie Bradshaw and Gloria Steinem.
Charlotte’s boy-toy lover Julian, played by Jakob Ehman, delivers a brilliant performance with his side-splitting one-liners and overly dramatic meltdowns. Ehman positions himself well as the passionate, simpleton who has fallen in love with someone out of his league.
The energetic, “one-hundred candles and a box of chocolates” hot man-child contrasts nicely with the emasculated and somewhat pretentious fiancé of Charlotte, Grayson, played by Amos Crawley. Julian also juxtaposes his older and much wiser brother Sylvie, played by Seth Drabinsky.
Grayson represents the kind of kind-hearted guy every woman knows -- the gentle, yet out of touch mama’s boy who wanders through his life wheeling a suitcase while policing political correctness. While Amos does a fantastic job playing Grayson, it is Sylvie’s character who acts as the mediator among the madness.
Sylvie has impeccable pacing on his delivery and challenges gender expectations while strutting around in mouth-watering Steve Madden shoes. Drabinsky’s integral character challenges Charlotte to dissect the structural differences between marriage and eros in the face of vulnerability.
While the parents smooth out any wrinkles in the story, they are not mandatory to the plotline. It would have been nice to have used these characters as an embodiment of traditional marriage values while highlighting the shift in non-monogamous relationships and advocating what societal acceptance should look like.
The Philanderess tells audience members upfront to “screw the rules and screw the expectations,” while dangling cigars from your mouth. The chaos comes full circle at the end of the production and the play is packaged up nicely as Charlotte shuts down her blog.
Directed by Michelle Alexander, The Philanderess ran this past week as part of a Second City "two night stand."