THE GOOD BODY by Eve Ensler, directed by Peter Askin (Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth). To March 12. $26.75-$59.75. 416-870-8000. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Like Eve Ensler's famous blockbuster The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body touches on issues women can connect to - in this case our bodies and how much we loathe them - through a series of monologues reflecting different women's experiences.
A supermodel marries the cosmetic surgeon who is changing her body piece by piece. Another women has a breast reduction at 16 to deter her stepfather from sexually abusing her. Middle age leads another to tighten her vagina. Ensler also gives us quick hits of icons Helen Gurley Brown and Isabella Rossellini.
Ensler, performing alone, injects more of her own life into the piece than she did in the Vagina Monologues. She is particularly obsessed with her own round stomach, until she leaves the U.S. and goes to parts of the world where eating is a privilege. That's what triggers her click in consciousness.
But like her more famous piece, none of this material feels especially fresh. It would be stronger had there been more material tracing her growing awareness - the click comes a bit too quickly. But then again that would have compelled Ensler to do more voices, and she just doesn't have the performance chops to sell the characters she's already created.
Ensler is certainly smart and funny - especially when she talks about her own issues - but she is really more of a synthesizer of ideas than a creative force.