Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: New Jersey

Dreamcatcher Four Perform The Kathy and Mo Show

Also see Bob's review of Doubt

Laura Ekstrand and Harriet Trangucci
Back in the mid 1980s, performer-writers Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy blew into New York from San Diego with Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show, a program of vaudeville-like sketches from a female point of view. Their sketches, which deal with the situations and concerns of (mostly) women through the various stages of life, have long been dubbed post-feminist which, in this instance, might be seen as feminism without a chip on its shoulder. Their work has proven popular and durable with a couple of subsequent New York appearances for the duo, including a substantial run in 1989 at the Second Stage and an engagement there just last year, an HBO special, and continuing performances of their play throughout the country both them or other actresses.

Kathy and Mo is now being revisited by the comedy-centric Dreamcatcher Rep, where a cast featuring four female members of this delightful and talented troupe is having a ball playing women and men in a show that is squarely in its court.

Kathy and Mo consists of about a dozen and a half sketches, including a running one which is played out between other sketches.  The show begins with Creation, which finds two heavenly beings designing birth to be dreadfully painful for women so that men would not be jealous of women being granted this ability ("... and let's give him as much ego as possible and hope for the best").  From there, Kathy and Mo goes from a Catholic childhood fraught with hellish fears imparted by an old school nun ("every time you lie, you put another thorn in the crown of Jesus"), teenage infatuation with West Side Story, hyper concern over appearance (including consideration of plastic surgery at the age of thirty), dieting ("I'll have a BLT, no, just an LT) and, of course, sex and men. There is a particularly telling bittersweet sketch late in the proceedings in which a cocktail waitress struggling to raise two children painfully endures casually sexist remarks from an elderly drunk.

While there is plenty afoot here to interest anyone, there can be no question but that this material is far funnier and more resonant to women than it is to men. The first sketch which strongly caught this reviewer's fancy was one in which a man and woman spat in bed over the woman's former boyfriend whom they met while out earlier that evening. As the couple get back to business, she tells him, "I feel Mr. Mouse", and he responds, "Mr. Mouse nears his house."

Harriet Trangucci, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley and Jessica O'Hara-Baker smoothly and seamlessly transition into about a dozen roles each. Trangucci and Ekstrand display a familiarity and rhythm performing together which makes their sketches feel spontaneous. Farley is so wryly and dryly hilarious in the role of the elderly male barfly that her every movement put a smile on my face. O'Hara-Baker, the ingénue in this crowd, adroitly keeps pace in every fast company. David Miceli has done such a fine job of directing his troupe that his deft hand is virtually invisible.

Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show is a most appropriate and pleasing entertainment for "girl's night out."

Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show continues performances (Friday & Saturday 8 pm /Sunday 2 pm) through March 21, 2010 at the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, at the Bard Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079; box office: 973-378--7754, ext.228; online:

Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy; directed by David Miceli

Harriet Trangucci, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley and Jessica O'Hara-Baker

Phott: Steve McIntyre

Be sure to Check the current schedule for theatre in New Jersey

- Bob Rendell

Privacy Policy