by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Serhat Caradee
A production by Crashing Water Theatre Company
Fringe HQ, Newtown, until May 29
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
Is it possible to see a play that’s more New York Jewish than Neil Simon? Spike Heels by Theresa Rebeck comes close, even though it’s set in Boston, and one of the actors has a Boston accent.
Even though the time period is in the 1990s, the subject is more relevant than ever. It tells the tale of male corporate dominance, relative female status and absence of empowerment and influence, and ultimate redemption.
The four characters are readily recognisable stereotypes. There’s Edward, the narcissistic, misogynistic, lying, manipulative lawyer (Joshua Horwitz), Andrew, the soft-natured, caring male academic as seen in all of Ibsen’s plays (Antony Press), Lydia, the spoilt little rich girl (Kate Hardy) and Georgie, the heroine whose feistiness compensates for her lack of education and self-confidence (Jessica Saras).
As the centre of the storm, the Georgie character does most of the heavy lifting, and Saras demonstrates that she is well and truly up to it. Andrew is Georgie’s personal development teacher, Edward is her employer and Lydia is Andrew’s fiancée who sees Georgie as her competitor.
All of the actors do well, and I would comment that if you’re playing a high-status, suit-wearing role, it would be worthwhile becoming accustomed to wearing a suit before the start of the production.
As the through-line progresses with a multitude of guilt trips thrown in, the positive shadow elements of the characters emerge to contribute to the ultimate plot twist.
Spike Heels is probably the lowest budget theatrical production that I’ve seen in ages but they still managed to come up with an interesting and compelling experience.