“Women in Jeopardy” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 13, 2022


Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Wendy MacLeod’s charmingly eccentric comedy “Women in Jeopardy” cleverly captures men’s inhumanity to women.  The marvelously acted and cleverly staged Arizona Theatre Company production creates a raucous play that enthralls with comedic charm.  “Women in Jeopardy” keeps audiences laughing but also makes one reflect on how badly women are handled in our contemporary society which loves to profess equality but doesn’t come close to fairness.

ATC’s Artistic Director Sean Daniels stages the production so the humor never stops.  He is aided by an acting ensemble who employ impeccable slapstick timing and wry looks as they manipulate the play’s witty malarkey.  Daniels has been involved with “Women in Jeopardy” since its world premiere in Rochester, New York prior to the pandemic which delayed the play’s local premiere.

MacLeod pits three close friends, all over 40, in a debate when Liz finds a weird new boyfriend in a dentist, Jackson, with a cute hygienist who has just disappeared.  The friends, confidant Jo and insecure Mary, are convinced that Liz can’t see the truth about Jackson.  Liz’s daughter Amanda has an on-again, off-again relationship with her boyfriend Trenner who makes a bizarre play for Mary that she promptly rejects.  Things go all over the place with the inner relationships among this strange assortment of people but, as in all good comedies, everything works itself out by the final curtain.  Some of MacLeod’s clever humor is certainly expected but most of the laughs aren’t telescoped.

ATC’s fine production couldn’t have put together a richer group of comediennes to bring this play to life.  The all-trusting Liz is played with a snobby arrogance by Gail Rastorfer who parades around in stylish designer clothes as she misses the obvious as she worries about unimportant appearances.  As her needlessly apprehensive friends, Julia Brothers is a steadfast Jo while Mary is played with self-doubting diffidence by Aysan Celik who almost runs in horror when confronted by her own shadow.  Amanda is played with security by Ashley Shamoon who knows her ample endowments make her important to Trenner, played with outrageous boisterousness by Damian Garcia.  Joel Van Liew plays arrogant Jackson with unfounded security.  Van Liew also plays the detective who solves the hygienist’s death.

It’s always fun to watch a glowing comic ensemble turn a funny piece even more amusing with subtle but hysterical comic shenanigans.  “Women in Jeopardy” couldn’t be a funnier time at the theater. It plays through February 27.  Order tickets online at www.atc.org. or call 1-833-ATC-SEAT.

Grade: A