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Don’t be fooled by the title. This is not the TV version of Bachelorette, with “romance, rivalry and, quite possibly, true love” at its centre (as the website of Bachelorette Canada promises). Nor is it a theatrical Bridesmaids. This Bachelorette is a dark and nasty portrait of New York twenty-somethings at their worst – most of them women. Ben Bilodeau’s production features very strong performances. But with a couple of possible exceptions these are not characters you’d want to have as friends.
It’s the night before Becky’s wedding to a rich guy and three of her gal pals (some pals!) show up at her expensive hotel suite overlooking Central Park. Becky (Steffanie Davis) isn’t there at first so Katie (Starlise Waschuk), who’s already wrecked, Gena (Kristina Hampton), and maid of honor Regan (Kelsey Larg) drink her champagne, snort coke, pop pills, jump on her furniture, trash the room, riff on blow jobs, and talk about how fat Becky is and how unfair that she gets to marry a rich guy. They also rip her expensive wedding dress and pick up two guys for sex, sleazy Jeff (Jeremy Burtenshaw) and pathetic Joe (Thomas Noonan).
There’s not much female solidarity in the ensuing action, although one man and one woman (I won’t give away any more plot) ultimately behave in ways that redeem them somewhat.
Katie is the most extreme character, self-destructive and out of control, and Waschuk plays her at full throttle. The other actors also all do fine work. Bilodeau directs with clarity and good pace. But the naturalism doesn’t entirely work when the actors scream so loudly that, in the echoing Havana backspace, their words become completely obscured.
This really feels to me like a New York play. Everything seems darker, more dire and more extreme than life elsewhere (especially in Vancouver). But I don’t really know how millennials act among themselves. My own kids have outgrown their twenties, and seem to behave along saner, more normal lines. See this play as a cautionary tale with very good young actors. But if it’s date night at the Havana for you, be warned.