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LA Theater Review

Girls Night: The Musical

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From all the hooting and hollering in the audience, you might think this show—billed as "Desperate Housewives" meets "Mamma Mia!"—is a sure-fire winner. Don't be too sure. Penned by U.K. playwright Louise Roche and adapted by Betsey Kelso, it is more for the Chippendales crowd than the conventional theatergoer.

The very thin storyline is provided by angel Sharon (Molly Valencia), tricked out in white denim and feathered wings. She tells us she died in a moped accident 20 years earlier at 17, just after giving birth to a baby girl who is now being feted at a shower by four of her friends at a karaoke bar. Said daughter never shows, but that doesn't stop the gal pals from getting down and dirty as the evening progresses.

Anita (Leslie McQueen) survives on pills, though it is unclear why, because she is happily married and graphically touts her sex life as great. Liza (Sonya Carter) has three kids and a great husband but mysteriously can't let him know she really loves him. Preposterously, Carol (Tina Jensen) and Kate (Priscilla Fernandez) are sisters, though one is twice-married, bawdy, and revels in her plus-size, while the other is skinny, absurdly gawky, and uncoordinated, like a marionette with no strings.

In songs such as "We Are Family" and "It's Raining Men," the women acquit themselves well in chorus. Solos also prove that they have musical chops, but much of the byplay delivered by Sharon is meandering flashbacks to earlier times, with random music thrown in.

Scatological humor peppers the dialogue, with frequent references to female bodily functions. Also included in one scene is an anatomically erect inflatable man that they use as a ring toss; it's also used in suggestive dances. Director Jack Randle goes for bold, in-your-face staging. Choreography (associate choreographer Emily Morgan) is '70s Travolta, but it is peppy and karaoke-bar friendly. As television and movies emphasize tasteless fare, this offering slides into the genre easily. It's only fair to be warned that "R for Raunchy" should be the designation.

Presented by and at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach. May 17–June 5. Tue.–Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (949) 497-2787. www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

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