Punk Rock Moms
Review of Angry Housewives at ArtsWest by Vivian Lappenbusch
Imagine your dear, sweet mother. She’s living a very plain life, making sure the laundry is done before starting dinner, making ends meet, and generally keeping everyone alive and happy. Now imagine that mother, who couldn’t hurt a fly, is now in a punk rock band. Hard to not laugh at, right? ArtsWest is bringing that image to life.
Directed by Shawn Belyea, Angry Housewives is a delightful musical about four wives and girlfriends who are sick of living in the shadows of their husbands, sons, and exes. They decide to drop their responsibilities for one week to make some money in a no-holds-barred, punk rock battle of the bands. For Carol (Ann Cornelius), the extra cash means she can keep her car after her spouse’s death. For Jetta (Chelsea LeValley), it means not having to rely on her man-child husband. And for Bev (Heather Hawkins) and Wendi (Janet McWilliams), hey, who couldn't use a little extra cash in tough economic times?
Steeped in the culture of Seattle in the ’80s, Angry Housewives is thoroughly fun. While it's fairly obviously targeted to the real-life housewives in the audience, the characters are endearing and lovable. The music is consistently funny, and all of the songs are even catchier than you could imagine. Whether you relate to Bev’s “Generic Woman” or Tim’s (Trent Moury) “Hell School,” there will be a song in this musical to sum up your life.
The book, written by A.M. Collins in Seattle in 1983, really sums up the way family dynamics work when families aren’t as perfectly nuclear as they seem. None of the characters are without flaws, but none of the characters lack redeeming qualities. This balance is what makes Angry Housewives really unique; while many performances love to rely on the infallible hero defeating the sinister villain trope, the normal struggles of these four women are compelling and funny without feeling forced.
Angry Housewives runs through May 24, but when you show up, make sure you do so early—the opening shows sold out fast, and so will the rest of them!
April 23 - May 24