I don’t imagine I would have found my way to GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS! had my talented friend Jazmin Patiño not been one of them. But this self-described burlesque cabaret made for a smart and enjoyable hour or so, knitted together by an exhibit of corset and bustier themed paintings (an installation by Heather Leigh Corey) and an exceptionally nimble and ingratiating emcee (Gabrielle Brown). The stated mission of Revolutionary Love Productions is to turn theatrical practices that are conventionally thought of as objectifications of women into acts of empowerment. This is not the only such project around these days, and I am sure that a lively ideological discussion could be had about it.
All I know from seeing GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS! is that the young cast (and their director, who appeared from time to time like a den mother joining the campfire games) were astoundingly unself-conscious in their bodies, and pulled us agreeably into their routines. They had fun and made fun (of men, but also of women). There were lots of stockings and garters and swelling bustlines, plenty of mild double-entendres, and many a familiar conceit: wiggled behinds, legs in the air, suggestive poses sitting the wrong way on a chair (it was amusing to see a stage full of chairs at the start of a show that was Standing Room Only).
The word that came to mind while watching GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS! was, oddly enough, “wholesome”, for it was all playfully sexy, but never calculated to shock or offend. Each of the “girls” was given a moment in which to shine, and they all did, including Patiño, who has charisma to spare. Of the others – Mariel Blatt, Tawna Michel Dabney (the director), Stephanie Mallick, Nadia Pelletier, Megan Tannhauser, Amber Villanueva – Blatt was a bit of a standout. But, as I say, they all shone.