THE attic, the pearls and three fine girls by Jennifer Brewin, Leah Cherniak, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alisa Palmer and Martha Ross, directed by PJ Hammond, with Jill Morrison, Erin Shields and Tina Yeung-Moore. Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley). Runs to December 15, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2 pm. $15, 2-for-1 Thursday, Sunday pwyc. 416-364-4170. Rating: NN
you know you're in trouble when a show's performing space is more interesting than the show itself.
Staging the collectively written 1995 play The Attic, The Pearls And Three Fine Girls in the attic space at the Alumnae Theatre feels right. Not much else does.This memory play about three sisters who reunite when their father dies deals in obvious symbols, mostly trunks and boxes filled with various garments and accessories. The only thing that's missing is the word Pandora.
The writers -- a talented crew comprised of Jennifer Brewin, Leah Cherniak, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Alisa Palmer and Martha Ross -- eschew rounded characters for walking, talking clichés.
The Fine sisters include academic Jojo (Jill Morrison), closeted businesswoman Jayne (Erin Shields) and flaky artist Jelly (Tina Yeung-Moore). Their confrontations and revelations result in a catalogue of mid-90s Oprah-isms, from self-empowerment to overcoming abuse to caretaking.
Flashbacks are handled gracefully, but the performances are so over the top that the production seems at times like satire. The joke's on us.