For something with a tagline claiming to be “ALL OR NOTHING”, Ladies Night turned out to be pretty middle of the road. Ladies Night is a 1987 New Zealand hit comedy about a group of down on their luck, working class, middle aged men who decide to form a striptease group as an escape from unemployment, child custody issues, and depression. There’s the man with all the ideas and even more debt, Craig (Pascal Breuer), burnt out and angry Barry (Sebastian Goder), and the big teddy bear hiding his unemployment from his wife, Norman (Torsten Münchow). If this plot sounds a bit familiar, you’d not be the first to feel that way. Playwrights Anthony McCarten and Stephen Sinclair also saw the similarity between their 1987 play and the 1997 movie, The Full Monty, but the courts did not agree.
Fritz Rémond’s current production of Ladies Night certainly has its charm – specifically in the sweet gentility of Norman and the gruff, drunken rambling of Grahame (Gisbert-Peter Terhorst). Yet, unfortunately, the tendency of the play is to get a bit too shouty, too loud and intense without cause, and to repeat the same gestures and inflections that lose their potency and applicability depending on the scene. Moreover, the play is just dated. Costuming and hair aside – because I understand a good mullet as much as the next person – the jokes about homosexuality, fear of male to male touching, and size insecurity play out as old-fashion tropes that seem out of place in today’s world. That being said, the older women I was surrounded by in the audience absolutely adored the show and were dying of laughter at the jokes that to me felt a bit overdone. So, perhaps we can conclude that Ladies Night is perfect for a Golden Girls night out.
All this aside, the performances are dedicated, heartfelt, and clearly the men are having a blast. It’s the dance rehearsals, end performance, and final bow that really show the heart of the production and make up for the lack of charm and identification of the first act. If you enjoy 80s humor, awkward dancing, and painful insecurities covering up a heart of gold, then check out Ladies Night with a group of friends ready to cheer and clap along.
Ladies Night ist eine neuseeländische Hit-Komödie über eine Männergruppe mittleren Alters, die vom Pech verfolgt werden. Um Arbeitslosigkeit, Sorgerechtsstreitigkeiten und Depressionen zu entfliehen, beschließen sie eine Striptease Gruppe zu gründen. Sie, das sind Craig (Pascal Breuer) der Mann mit den vielen Ideen und noch mehr Schulden, der ausgebrannte und wütende Barry (Sebastian Goder) und Norman (Torsten Münchow) der große Teddybär, der seine Arbeitslosigkeit vor seiner Frau versteckt. Sie müssen besser werden als die Chippendales und somit kann nur gelten: Ganz oder gar nicht.
- By Stephen Sinclair & Anthony McCarten
- Translated by Annette & Knut Lehmann
- Director: Folke Braband
- Cast includes: Pascal Breuer, Sebastian Goder, Torsten Münchow, Martin Böhnlein, Gisbert-Peter Terhorst, Eduard Burza and Dominik Meurer
- Fritz Rémond Theater im Zoo, Frankfurt
- Until 12 March 2017
- Review by Becca Kaplan
- 2 February 2017