Review: Some Girl(s) (Empty Suitcase Theatre)

Some Girl(s) just can’t be forgotten at Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space, Toronto.

We all have the one that got away, but what if you have five, six or even a few dozen? Some Girl(s) presented by Empty Suitcase Theatre at Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space from June 27th to 30th follows Guy: a man who, weeks before his wedding, dares to go back in his dating history and ask what really went wrong.

From a lengthy list he picks his top five indiscretions and travels across the country to try and right his wrongs. There is Sam, the high school sweetheart, Tyler, the sexual awakening, Reggie, the best friend’s little sister, Lindsay, the older woman, and Bobbi, the one that truly got away. The women are not as receptive to his attempts to clear the air as he might have hoped.

Each hotel room encounter shines light on a new side of Guy’s destructive past. Though the women have not seen him for years, they still hold quite strong grudges about how things ended. He on the other hand is quick to offer defensive explanations for his past behavior. Youth and fear are frequently to blame.

My friend and I both agreed that Guy is a hard character to fall in love with. His awkward attempts at reconciliation often come across more as excuses rather than explanations. I really did want to like him as I’m a sucker for the underdog, but as each girl got introduced I found it harder and harder to do so.

Perhaps it’s because much of what was being rehashed I could very directly relate to. The awkwardness of the conversations made me squirm since they reminded me of my own previous love-life choices. Continuing to be hung up on someone from many years back seems pathetic, until you realize that you’ve been there, and done that.

I’m a strong believer in laughter being the best way to break the ice and luckily Some Girl(s) provided some chuckle-worthy moments. The humor, though dark, was as much about laughing at the characters’ interactions as at one’s own ridiculous past decisions.

The only time that my guest and I found it hard to laugh was during Guy’s meeting with Reggie. Writer Neil LaBute added Reggie to the script after the play’s original Broadway and West End runs.

Her inclusion caused a significant jump in the level of tension in the room. Though her story is eye-opening in regards to understanding the Some Girl(s) leading man, it makes for a very heavy ending to the first act.

Some Girl(s) is a strong first production by Empty Suitcase Theatre. Though harsh, and tense at times, the show is a solid representation of what the company hopes to stand for: rarely seen works featuring strong female roles.

Details

Some Girl(s) played at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space from June 27th to 30th.

Photo of Shelley Colekessian, Jessica Grosdanof, Dan Cristofori, Kathleen Black, and Rachel MacMillan.