Google maps, free milk: play looks at women having it all

Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:37am EST
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By Julia Fioretti

LONDON (Reuters) - Can women have it all? This old issue is revisited by Gina Gionfriddo's piercingly funny play "Rapture, Blister, Burn," looking at the lives of three women from different generations and throwing in a love triangle for some added drama.

After a well-received round in the United States in 2011, American Pulitzer Prize finalist Gionfriddo's play opened at the Hampstead Theatre in London last week, directed by Peter DuBois.

Critical reaction was mixed. The Guardian pointed out that "while the play asks pertinent questions about the dilemmas confronting women... it seems dismally reactionary in its conclusion that public fulfillment and private happiness are irreconcilable".

The Telegraph, on the other hand, called it a "highly intelligent play" with "winning humor and palpable humanity".

The plot revolves around three former grad-school friends in their 40s who reunite when Catherine, a glamorous, high-profile academic and author, leaves her high-flying New York lifestyle to return to her small hometown and care for her mother Alice, who has just suffered a heart attack.

Living next door are her ex-boyfriend Don (Adam James) and his wife, the controlling stay-at-home mother Gwen (Emma Fielding).

To keep herself busy Catherine, played by Emilia Fox, holds summer classes in which she lectures on feminism, pornography and horror films to her only students, Gwen and her former babysitter, the irreverent 21-year old Avery (Shannon Tarbet).

In a series of scenes combining feminist theory and dry wit,   Continued...