Thursday, December 6, 2012



Posted by on 29 Jul 2012 / 1 Comment

So what’s not to love about a play starring 7 local powerhouse actresses and written by an equally strong local, female playwright?! Given the dearth of substantive roles for women in theatre and film, it is great to see a show like “Kittens in a Cage” infused with so much estrogen and feminine prowess.  (I’m just not sure why they didn’t choose a female director for the show as well!).
Written by Kelleen Conway Blanchard and directed by Bret Fetzer, “Kittens in a Cage” is “a tough love story about bad broads that can’t get no breaks!” It tells the story of a young girl named “Junie” (played by Francesca Mondelli) who finds herself in the middle of a bank robbery that went wrong. Basically, she was set up by her thug friends and framed for the crime, an act that ultimately lands her in prison where she meets the other characters of this jailhouse comedy.
The prison is headed by the always fabulous Lisa Viertel who plays the “Prison Matron,” – a Doctor Evil type of character who has a prosthetic hook arm, a tortured fondness for monkeys, and an undying belief in the power of science to reform the inmates.
“Junie” is schooled in the world of prison life by her cellmate, “Vickie,” (played by Laurel Ryan), who is a bit of a pyromaniac herself. In time, the two develop a romantic connection with each other as they defend themselves against the other inmates and against the Prison Matron’s scientific experiments as well.
Rounding out the cast includes: “Nancy,” the closet lesbian, Barney Fife-ish prison guard (played by Katie Driscoll) who is in love with the prison matron; “Jeanine” (played by Tracy Leigh), the redneck, lesbian murderess whose got eyes for “Junie”; “Barbara” (played by Erin Pike), the Hannibal Lecter-like cannibal with a sweet tooth for Girl Scouts; and finally the actress, Erin Stewart, who plays a variety of roles, one of which is “Lois,” a baby killing pill head.
The entire cast does a great job, and it is obvious that they are having a lot of fun in their respective roles; and when I saw the show on opening night, it was obvious that the audience had just as much fun watching them.
Indeed, the play is packed with the kind of bawdy, lowbrow humor that you would expect from a comedy set in a women’s prison : a lot of lesbian jokes, a lot of girl on girl action (in all senses of the word), and a lot of pulling things out of vaginas. In short, it is just a good time, not to be taken too seriously.
Finally, the technical design is NOT the focus of this production. Suffice it to say that the set and lighting designs are simple and functional. Here, it’s all about the actresses, as it should be!
“Kittens in a Cage” plays through August 25th at the Annex Theatre on Capitol Hill. 1100 E. Pike St. For tickets call 206-728-0933 or on the web at

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