By Julie Reed BellSpecial to the Observer
There’s a slumber party going on right now at the Stage Door Theater, and you’re invited.
“Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women,” is the newest Blumenthal PAC production. It offers a feel-good, group-hug kind of evening for a girls’ night out – a couple of hours of feminine bonding in an intimate setting.
Created by Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein, the show is a fun and frothy mix of scripted scenes, songs, videos and a little improv. Bethel Caram (otherwise known as “B”) and Diana Dresser take over the roles originated by Gehring and Klein, and both are genial and accomplished comediennes.
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The evening is set in a typical teenage girl’s room from the 1970s. The walls are Pepto//kc-Bismol pink, there are posters of Sean Cassidy and Holly Hobbie on the wall, and the shelves are stuffed with girly trinkets. (The scenic design, by Lisa Orzolek, could not be better.)
Caram and Dresser open the show in their bras and panties and riff on the ridiculous photo-editing photoshopping in Victoria’s Secret catalogues.
They sing a cute song about their bras to the tune of “Que Sera, Sera.” The two then read diary entries out loud from their 12-year-old selves. Some of these are amusing, and some fall a little flat, but most are very identifiable.
The funniest part of the production is an ad-libbed segment where in which the two borrow purses from audience members and create characters based on the bags and what’s inside them. Ceram and Dresser are very funny, and more of their skilled improvisation would be welcome.
The pair is also very entertaining in a shadow-puppet skit illustrating the history of women, and a clever take on Up With People, called “Up With Puberty.” This sketch is reminiscent of Molly Shannon’s “Saturday Night Live” character, Mary Kathryn Gallagher, as the two are dressed in blue-and-yellow Catholic schoolgirl outfits and perform awkward, jerky dance moves to such songs as “Vasectomy, Vasectoyou” and “Who Put the ’’ ‘Guy’ in Gynecology.”
A sweet segment in the second act involves the audience rooting around in the childhood memory boxes of Caram and Dresser and choosing items for each to talk about. There were many “oohs” and “ahhs” of recognition during this section of the show.
Probably the biggest audience reaction, though, comes near the end of the evening during a sketch called “Craft Corner.” In this scene, the actors play their older selves, giving advice on what to do with excess feminine products after menopause. The Christmas ornament got a huge guffaw, because “it has its own string!” Caram and Dresser close the show with a hilariously choreographed ballet.
Gather your girlfriends, grab a show-specific specialty cocktail from the bar and settle in for a girly-great time.