nytheatre.com review by Michael Criscuolo
March 15, 2007
Courtney McLean, the writer and star of the new solo play Super Glossy!, has the makings of a really good show here. Actually, she's got the makings of two really good shows. But, Super Glossy! spends so much energy trying to make its different parts cohere that it diffuses itself. Luckily, McLean is a likable and energetic performer, and manages to sell this show despite its shortcomings.
The protagonist, Jane, is a typical modern bachelorette: unlucky in love, and perennially searching for Mr. Right (and more often than not only finding Mr. Right Now). One night she hooks up with a famous male movie star, Carey, whose equally famous wife, Melinda, coincidentally happens to be Jane's best friend from grade school. Jane has an old ax to grind with Melinda, so her one-night tryst temporarily satisfies that old jones. But, when Jane finds out she's pregnant, then accidentally rekindles her friendship with Melinda, things get complicated.
Or, at least, they could get complicated. For it's at that precise moment that Super Glossy! veers off towards an almost entirely different subplot involving Helena, the editor of a women's fashion magazine, and her evil plan to keep the female race enslaved to warped ideals of beauty by manufacturing the next big celebrity "It" girl. Melinda currently holds that title, but Helena is planning for the ascension of Melinda's surrogate offspring (since she is unable to conceive). Enter Jane, along with Christina, a magazine staffer who unwittingly discovers Helena's plot, and Imogen, a personal assistant with an ax of her own to grind.
Super Glossy! gets a little too busy in places, and is sometimes hard to follow in others. McLean might do well to consider making Jane's story one play in itself, and giving Helena's plan a play of its own. That way both stories could be fleshed out more. McLean is definitely an imaginative writer, and I think she owes it to these characters to explore them all a little more deeply. Director/lighting designer Jenny Lobland could stand to clarify some scene transitions and tighten up some light cues, but otherwise does a serviceable job.
Ultimately, Super Glossy! succeeds based on the strength of McLean's spunky performance. She is funny and endearing with a seductive twinkle in her eye. It's almost unimaginable that she could be unlucky in love. Credit McLean's acting skills for selling the audience on this point as well.