Old age isn’t always fun....
...but growing older with grace, humor and a supportive group of friends can make even the awful not only manageable, but pretty darn funny. That is the premise of “Wrinkles, The Musical.” It works on every level.
The sometimes bawdy, always energetic script written by Naomi Turner and Wilderness Sarchild, with music and arrangement by Malcolm Granger, is in perfect hands under the direction of Nina Schuessler. The laughs are genuine, especially when the things you laugh at catch you off-guard.
That is probably the point because it is an effective way to showcase stories of people who still desire life, passion and love, even if they can only find it with a bright pink “pocket rocket,” brandished with sly hilarity by Sue Lindholm as Louise.
This is not a play that shies away from honesty.
That is also its strength. Taboo subjects are on the table, and the biggest reason they resonate is that they are true. Do you stick with a cold and abusive husband or just tell his doctor “Do Not Resuscitate,” which is sung with great emotion by Sherrie Smith Scudder as Pam.
Other song highlights include the haunting ensemble “Circle of Ancestors” and “We Shall Rise,” which is sung like a spiritual, but also includes some pretty nifty footwork.
Throughout the play, choreography is strong and impressive. “Tappin’ Down Main Street, led by Karen Santos as Diane, is another ensemble knock-out.
conversations occurring offstage and the actual performances onstage. The offstage conversations convince the women to be bolder and more honest in their show.
The hilarious ensemble number “Gimme Love” is a sassy affirmation that older women still want sex. “Cosmetic Surgery Blues,” sung with great humor by Deb Stringham and Howe, allows for more laughs, but also opens up the question of why women can’t just accept their aging bodies, wrinkles and all.
Incontinence, erectile dysfunction, arm bags, skin tags and other indignities of old age are all up for laughs, because really what else can you do? You either laugh or you cry. These women choose to laugh.
For example, when Lindholm’s Louise talks about being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she brandishes a pink sparkly walker to do her “perky parkie polka.”
But age also brings loss and Sally and Aunt Beulah (played by a spunky Karen McPherson) have to absorb a big one. The writing and Callum Powers’ delivery is especially powerful in “Words That Change Your Life.”
Other wise and wonderful words are delivered by Janice Bradbury Richmond, one of three Ancients, along with Dorothy Beaton and Marie Hays. The content of the Ancient’s wisdom comes from Sarchild’s poem “Hags and Crones,” which was the original inspiration for the musical.
The production team does a sparkling job of making the show vibrant, and the band led by Malcolm Granger is fabulous.
Ultimately, “Wrinkles, The Musical” shows that even when women grow old, they are still strong, wise and relevant. The packed house on opening night and standing ovation at the end of the show were well-deserved.