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Off-Broadway Review—“Hurricane Diane”

Hurricane Diane

Written by Madeleine George; directed by Leigh Silverman

Performances through March 24, 2019


Michelle Beck, Danielle Skraastad, Mia Barron and Kate Wetherhead in Hurricane Diane (photo: Joan Marcus)
The women who populate Madeleine George’s amusingly off-kilter Hurricane Diane seem to be waiting for something, anything to spice up their daily drudgery. What arrives to uproot the lives of Carol, Renee, Pam and Beth is a literal force of nature: Dionysus, who—or so we are told in the god’s hilarious opening monologue—has decided to return to civilization to convince people that the earth is dying thanks to man-made climate change and that the best place to start changing minds is a cul-de-sac in suburban New Jersey.
As Dionysus—who takes the form of Diane, a butch landscaper—worms into their homes, confidences and, eventually, beds, the women’s souls are revealed and their inhibitions drop away. Cautious Carol; levelheaded Renee; irrepressible Pam; and needy Beth (her husband recently left her) all find varying degrees of liberation through Diane’s physical and emotional proximity.
For 90 minutes, George’s play gleefully skewers everything and everyone in its path, sometimes incisively, sometimes lazily—there are times when it skirts sitcom writing, but others when it makes skillful comic and even tragic impressions. And, although it simply peters out at the end, it’s crammed with quotable dialogue and a fearless way of destroying the realism of both her characters and her own play. 
Hurricane Diane is directed with equal parts vigor and finesse by Leigh Silverman on Rachel Hauck’s cleverly designed set. And the cast of five couldn’t be bettered. The women—Mia Barron (Carol), Michelle Beck (Renee), Danielle Skraastad (Pam) and Kate Wetherhead (Beth)—are magnificent individually and as a unit, with Skraastad as a particularly dynamic scene-stealer. And Becca Blackwell is the perfect embodiment of Diane/Dionysius, drawing every last laugh out of George’s robust and even potent words. 

Hurricane Diane

WP Theater/New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, New York, NY

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