Everything starts with bang. Marriages. Affairs. Divorces. Dinner parties. Plays. How everything ends, however, and what follows the jump-start, is less than thrilling.
The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, which could aptly be titled The Lamentable Tragedie of a Block-Headed Misogynist, is at times as uncomfortable for its audience as it is for its characters. Stammered lines, awkward pauses, and technical glitches, when served alongside a hearty dose of poor comedic timing and bland choreography, leave the audience with a distant vision of the play’s potential and a very real sense of disappointment. Sort of like husbands, apparently.
The play chronicles the decline of a twenty-year marriage when Kenneth, a nervous, middle-aged lout, leaves his wife Hilary for the younger, more allusive Laura. Ken discovers his mistake, however, as soon as Laura’s cooking proves inferior to his ex-wife’s. When the audience meets the dysfunctional troupe, the characters are assembled at Hilary’s house for a dinner party on the night of Ken and Laura’s third wedding anniversary. Guess what Hilary schemes up for a main course.
As Michael Fisher demonstrates in his role as the chauvinistic offender, excitement and exaggerated breathing are underwhelming substitutes for practiced technique. And Laura, the Other Woman, played by Megan Rippey, undercuts her comedic intuition with an overly sulky characterization.
The spitfire confidence that Kelly Kristi exudes in her role as Hilary, a mid-life divorcée, both delights and surprises as it carries the show. Relieved of her tiresome spouse and bursting with charisma, she glows as she divulges with an enthusiastic loyalty her longstanding commitment to delectable cuisine. Her wicked humor and sharp retorts spike the piece with a refreshing wit. Rare indeed.
Though the play explores deeply unsettling gender restrictions and presuppositions and briefly condemns the normalcy of domestic violence, there is little fulfillment in the play’s grand finale. If postprandial satisfaction is what you seek, be sure to grab a hearty dessert after this meal.
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Tickets: The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband
- Remaining Shows: Sun, July 13 at 6 . Sun, July 20 at noon, Fri, July 25 at 10 . Sat, July 26 at 3 . Sun, July 27 at 6
- Where: DC Arts Center, 1438 18th St NW