Cheers, Alan Ball, for providing women actors with characters they can sink their teeth into! Hubris Productions’ “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” is the Academy Award-winning (“American Beauty”) writer’s 1993 play about five less-than-enthusiastic bridesmaids who, while hiding out from the wedding reception in an upstairs bedroom, drink too much, confide in one another some deep, dark secrets and discover life-long friendship. Set in Knoxville, Tennessee, you might expect some of the sappy Southern “Steel Magnolias” charm—but you’ll want to watch out for the deliciously brazen razorblades tucked inside. These five women embrace those clichés, and then swiftly turn them on their head with sharp wit and provocative humor. It’s truly the performances (right down to the spot-on drawls) that make this play one to see. Mary Hollis Inboden is especially winning as Mindy, the beauty-pageant-loving, lesbian sister of the groom; though the entire ensemble is strong, funny and captivating. Ball stumbles by introducing the character of Tripp—the only male we see onstage—whose brief appearance unfortunately sucks the energy right out of the room (despite the valiant efforts of actor Charles Riffenburg IV). A small (and forgivable) hiccup in this otherwise sassy and spirited production. (Valerie Jean Johnson)
At the Center on Halsted, 3652 North Halsted, (773)472-6469. This production is now closed.