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THEATER REVIEW Women of 4G
by MacKenzie Murtaugh
2019-08-21

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Playwright: Amy Tofte

At: Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. Tickets: TheFactoryTheater.com and BabesWithBlades.org; $20-$28. Runs through: Sept. 14

It is 75 years in the future, and seven women and their male captain lead a routine mission to Mars in their ship, the 4G.

The women, despite their qualms, agree to put their disagreements aside to complete the mission they have been assigned. It's all too easy, until their captain turns up dead. Each member of the team has a reason to kill the captain, whether that reason be love, lust or power. This is the central story of the sci-fi, murder mystery that is Women of 4G—a tale of female perseverance without any male influence or interference.

The storefront production consists of an all-female cast and crew as a part of the Babes with Blades Theatre Company, which typically uses stage combat to highlight female performance. In a three-quarters roundabout setting, the audience is almost immersed in the combat, as if they are an onlooking member of the 4G's crew, wondering what drama will unfold next for the seven main crew members.

Each actor presents a different avenue of female success, with Jazmin Corona, as Wollman, as the particular standout. Her tight inflection of severity, determination and desperation for her character's work to be recognized as brilliant shines throughout the two hours. Her fierceness in her delivery, the tenacity of her stage combat and the utter emotion she invokes in the audience is almost unmatched throughout the two acts.

Another standout comes in the form of the ship's de facto captain after the first dies with Ashley Yates as Stark. Stern and composed throughout, Stark commands the ship during the tension after the captain's death, and Yates' dual performance that is forbidding and compassionate allows the audience to feel and understand Stark's difficult position. She doesn't have an easy job, as each member of the team thinks another member could be a murderer, but her veracity lets her subordinates know who is really in charge.

The plays final moments are something unmatched and should not be missed. The pure camaraderie displayed within a group of women who don't particularly like each other, but know each other enough to have a shared air of respect, brings the theme to a complete and satisfying end. Unexpected and melancholic, the show's ending reminds the audience as to why women-ran shows exist — that pure camaraderie.

Overall, Women of 4G does not disappoint. Instead, it excels by performance, character development and overall message.


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