Review by Kathleen Campion

Tunisia Hardison & Baxter Defy-2Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes just blew in from Los Angeles for a short run at the Cherry Lane—through June 21.

The story line is simple.  One press précis offers:

Five couples come together for brunch to celebrate Nicole finally meeting Dylan after a two month long internet courting. This is the last reasonable thing any of them will do for the day. Secrets will be screamed, sex will be weaponized, and sanity will have its throat sliced. They are assholes. They are crazy. Try to love them anyway.

Each of the five couples is in some stage of chaos.  Nicole‘s beautiful sister, Bella, has captured her boss, a committed bachelor who’s about to propose, relying on her bitchiness to keep him “hard for next 50 years.”

Nicole’s best friend, Mandy, has an unemployed boyfriend, who cheats and dreams of fulfilling her fantasy of a threesome soon.  Phoenix is dumping Tim, the too-rational man, to go write children’s books. George and Hillary, are invited but never arrive.  Their drama plays out in a series of screaming matches in the car on the way.

There are up to four “sets” established on the tiny Cherry Lane stage. Each supports spotlighted vignettes, as the couples meet, interact, rearrange themselves, and re-form.  It’s sort of a sexual square dance.  All of the men are assholes, in the sense that they make life choices based on their sexual needs. So, some cheat, some rage, some obsess but, ultimately, any commitment to the women is libido-driven.  The women are all crazy as they recognize the “game” yet try to accommodate it.  They police the cheaters and scream back at the rage and they also obsess—crazy, right?

I’m reminded of the cobra and the snake charmer.  The charmer mesmerizes the poisonous snake and imagines himself in charge of the situation.  The snake sways to the sounds of the pipe and imagines it can strike a venomous blow when it chooses.

The premise, that it is because men are a**holes that women are crazy, is facile at best. That said, this is not high art but low farce, executed with precision.

Here’s the thing—Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes is not a morality play—but a laugh-out-loud production in which you see yourself and lots of people you know.  Playwright Brad Gottfred gives his characters endearing personalities and interesting conflicts; the actors run with all that.

Gottfred not only wrote and directed, he inserted himself into the cast, playing George, an a**hole of the first water. In the program’s contrived bio he even thanks himself “for his continued support.”  I sat among some of his friends and family and they gave him up without a backward glance.  All of which speaks to the advanced state of frat house familiarity that informs the whole production.

It’s not Hamilton, nor Fun Home, nor Heisenberg.  But, I left happy and laughing.  If you can get a fistful of tickets, do it, and bring any of your friends who are engaged or have ever been engaged in the Venus v. Mars transaction.

Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes – Written and directed by Brad T. Gottfred.

WITH: Mandy Henderson (Nicole), JJ Nolan (Mandy), Blake Boyd (Reynold), Tunisia Hardison (Hillary), Devlin Borra (Dylan), Christine Donlon (Bella), Nikki McKenzie (Phoenix), Justin Sintic (Tim), John Weselcouch (Benny), and “Baxter Defy” (George).

Designed by Christopher and Justin Swader; lighting and stage manager Carey Dunn.  Presented by Bleeping Crazy Entertainment and Cherry Lane Theatre at the Cherry Lane, 38 Commerce Street, Manhattan, through June 21st.  Running time 90 minutes with one intermission.