Review: BITTERGIRL, the Musical

by Lynn on October 16, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre, part of Drayton Entertainment, St. Jacobs, Ont. Playing until Dec. 24, 2023.

Written by Annabel Fitzsimmons, Alison Lawrence and Mary Francis Moore

Directed by Mary Francis Moore

Music Director, Melissa Morris

Set by David Boechler

Costumes by Jessica Pembleton

Lighting by Kevin Fraser

Cast: Lauren Bowler

Mark Harapiak

Sara-Jeanne Hosie

Keely Hutton

Years ago, three friends—Annabel Fitzsimmons, Alison Lawrence and Mary Francis Moore—were dumped by their boyfriends/partners at varying times. They were hurt, unsettled by it, confused about why and finally angry. That anger got them to write about their experiences using humour. Bittergirl—the play was the result in the mid-2000s. Then established songs were added to provide another layer to the story so in 2015/16 Bittergirl—The Musical was born.

Bittergirl—The Musical chronicles how three women are dumped by their boyfriend/partner—they each have a boyfriend or husband who dumps them. The women are all unnamed as is the guy. We can all identify and sympathize.  He (Mark Harapiak representing the various men) is sorry, really loves her, but he needs his space/solitude/freedom. The reason varies. The guy is still a bum. (I thought saying he was a ‘shit’ was too indelicate, although appropriate).

The women, also unnamed, go through various stages of shock, grief, regret, confusion, anger, thoughts of revenge and recovery. Insecurity factors heavily. Assuming it’s her fault is also there. Songs such as: “Where Did Our Love Go,” “When Will I See You Again,” “Be My Baby,” and “Always Something There to Remind Me” are some of the songs in Act I. But then in Act II we have a slow recovery: “Love Hurts,” “This is My Life,” and “I Will Survive.”

Director Mary Francis Moore directs a stellar cast: Lauren Bowler, Sara-Jeanne Hosie and Keely Hutton play the three dumped women. They sing beautifully and with heartfelt conviction. They go through all the emotions one would associate with such a devastating event and they go through varying degrees of neediness and strength. Mark Harapiak plays all the fellahs who dumped the women. He swaggers nicely, has all the confidence of a man with little sensitivity but also a lovely sense of humour that makes the guys seem like twits. We, of course, sympathize with the women but we don’t hate the guys because they are so full of themselves and we know the women are better off without them.

Mary Francis Moore stages the actors well around David Boechler’s flashy, efficient set. And Melissa Morris provides the musical direction with a verve and a smile.

Drayton Entertainment presents:

Plays until Dec. 24, 2023.

Running Time: 2 hours (1 intermission)

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