We never do get to meet the supposedly happy couple in this by-turns-hilarious and poignant story of one epic wedding reception. But that doesn’t mean we don’t hear all about them — especially the bride. Tracy is a goddess of the New South, a beautiful country-club type who works for Pepsi and lives in Knoxville. She’s also, according to one of the five bridesmaids that make up the show’s title, “a rich white Republican bitch.” As Tracy’s sister, Meredith (Allison Lewis Towbes in a fine performance), and then the other four women in the same bridesmaid’s dress make their way to Meredith’s bedroom, where the play takes place, the audience gets a panoramic view of what success looked like in the New South circa 1993. The viewpoint is a useful one, too; all of these women are just outside the golden circle of marital bliss. Little sister Meredith and cousin Frances (Leah Victoria Bleich) are too young to be in the thick of things yet — or are they? Tracy’s once-upon-a-wild-time best friend, Trisha (an excellent Marisol Miller-Wave), occupies a self-imposed exile in which sex is okay but intimacy remains taboo. A very funny Katelyn Tustin rips through the Melissa McCarthy part as the desperately unhappy young wife Georgeanne. And then there’s Mindy (Ashley Saress Lemmex), whose openness about her sexual orientation confounds even the more sympathetic of the girls. Under the strong direction of Kate Bergstrom, these women become fully present as individual characters, and when Tripp Davenport (Josh Jenkins) finally arrives in Act Two to put the moves on a reluctant Trisha, what has been a comedy turns softly — and darkly — romantic. This is a great summertime play full of winning performances.
WEDDING CRASHERS: Marisol Miller-Wave and Josh Jenkins flirt at a wedding reception in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.
Review: Five Women Wearing the Same Dress at Plaza Playhouse Theater
A Play About Bridesmaids from the Creator of Six Feet Under