The Catholic Girl’s Guide To Losing Your Virginity is a pleasant, engaging comedy which opened the newly appointed Pico Playhouse. The play has had previous runs at The Hudson Guild in Los Angeles and at Cincinnati Playhouse in The Park, but this is an all-new production, ably directed by Eli Gonda.
Annie Hendy is the writer and star of this tale of a girl’s journey into the world of dating, men, and sex while – at first – trying to hold onto her virginity until marriage. This rather quaint notion quickly gives way to a frantic search for someone to be her “first” as she approaches her 25th birthday.
Ms. Hendy is a charming performer, but her appeal lessens somewhat as she searches more and more frantically. She is also hampered by having to stay stage front and walking from side to side (on a gorgeous set by Tom Buderwitz) while her partner in the proceedings (the very talented Cyrus Alexander) is changing clothes for yet another transformation. Even with his back to us I was fascinated to see what was he going to come up with next. He also got to interact with the set more than Ms. Hendy did.
Alexander showed amazing versatility in playing a dozen or so different characters. The sheer creativity of the choices he made was enough to dominate the evening. His characters ranged from the devoted priest to several varieties of the “predatory male,” as well as a priest in training, a speed dater, a horny bar patron, a jock, etc. Alexander varied his voice, stance, mannerisms, and body to fit the range of characters he was asked to portray. Through no fault of his own, he stole the show.
The play is more comedic in the showing than in the telling. The interactions between Ms. Hendy and Mr. Alexander were often hilarious. Her monologues in between, however, became annoying at times. How often can you listen to an attractive girl complain about not getting laid and her difficulty meeting the “right” man? When she finally realizes she doesn’t just want sex but rather a partner, she – drum roll – meets someone worthy of her. We are left hoping that after the show is over the characters get it on. Performances continue at the Pico Playhouse until March 1.