They may be wearing similar dresses, but the five ladies at the heart of playwright Alan Ball’s domestic dramedy, “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” are certainly not cut from the same fabric of life. There’s the conservative one, the sex kitten, the staunchly independent rebel, the emotional doormat and the lesbian with the heart of gold. When this gang of bridesmaids seeks refuge from a snooty wedding reception and end up in the same bedroom for two hours, recriminations, confessions and enough women’s-studies issues laced with comedy to warrant a new season of “Sex and the City” manifest. As a theatrical curiosity, the play is significant because it was penned years before playwright Ball would leap to overnight fame as the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “American Beauty” and the creator of HBO’s “Six Feet Under.” Accordingly, dramaturgical pre-echoes—however faint—are everywhere: the complex characterizations of dysfunctional functionality; the moribund comedy; the deflection of easy sentimentality. “Five Women…” is also the inaugural theatrical undertaking of See Jane Run Productions, whose creative women founder-actors obviously detected some potential for the piece. But despite committed performances and some genuinely humorous moments, the play is at best a comic diversion saddled with characters and writing that have yet to acquire Ball’s full, dramatic richness. (F.O. Almeida)
Village Players Theatre, 1010 W. Madison, Oak Park, (708)207-2796. Fri & Sat 8pm. $15. Through July 25.