Theater Review: THE CATHOLIC GIRL’S GUIDE TO LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY (Falcon Theatre in Burbank)

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by Tony Frankel on February 13, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles


What a curious play. Well, it’s not really a play, it’s a stand-up act. No, it’s a one-person show with two people. Hang on…I’ll get it. It’s fringe theater without the edge. No, it’s a showcase that inadvertently does not showcase the titular character (a Catholic virgin). It’s entertaining, but one-note. It takes a stab at philosophical musing, but remains superficial. It’s The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity.

Annie Hendy is Lizzy, a perennial Catholic school girl who is suddenly determined to lose her virginity before her twenty-fifth birthday (Hendy is clothed in the same plaid skirt and knee socks throughout the play). This set-up allows Hendy (also the playwright) to have an extraordinary number of scenes with The Man, a tour-de-force performance by Cyrus Alexander, who deftly shifts characters, from a priest to Lizzy’s brother to one of her many dates. Mr. Alexander is the number one reason to attend this show; what he brings to less-than-spectacular material is spectacular. But therein lies the conundrum: he brings an air of humor, authenticity and excitement to his scenes with Hendy; when she is alone, her virginal whining borders on tedium as she ponders like Alice in Lose-Your-Virginity Land.

What is truly odd is that Lizzy can be an eye-rolling bitch to some of the guys she meets, especially a pediatrician who seems perfect for her: he wishes to take things slowly, while she is ready for a communion of the flesh, so she kicks him out of her apartment when he wants to cuddle. Later on, she sees the folly of her search and just decides to give up on the crucifixion of her hymen. After all, they say when you stop looking for something, it will appear. Suddenly enough, she meets a nice guy and they fall in love — even though she’s still a little bitchy to him, too. He dips her while they dance; she turns her head to us and gives a wink. Lights out.

Hang on. What happened to the adorable, football-loving pediatrician? Why didn’t she give him a call? In a way, it doesn’t matter: we never really know who she is; she’s not a fleshed-out character, she’s just a Catholic Girl. It is never really clear why this girl suddenly chooses to defy her faith, short of the realization that her priest has a better sex life than she does. A lifetime of religious oppression is not enough insight to support the less-than-weighty material. Is this about sex or is she considering apostasy? We’re never really sure.

She begins some of her monologues directly to us with, “Maybe the problem is…” or some such Sex and the City-sounding, truth-seeking rumination. She even mentions that her life is like Sex and the City, but without the sex or the cool clothes. Lines such as this may cause a momentary murmur of titillation from the audience, but it is merely a laugh line, intended, it seems, to make us relate to the girl’s plight.

Hendy’s play skirts irreverence, and never really tackles the complications of growing up Catholic in today’s vanity and sex-obsessed culture. It is for audiences who desire no more than a few chuckles and a sweet, tidy ending — even when it is undeserved. Occasionally, Mr. Alexander was heaven. The repetitive nature of the play’s framework could be hell. I guess that puts the soul of this Catholic Girl in purgatory.

photos by Chelsea Sutton

The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity
Falcon Theatre
4252 Riverside Dr. in Burbank
ends on March 6, 2011
for tickets, call 818.955.8101 or visit Falcon

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake C. February 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm

You completely misunderstood the play. It is never supposed to be serious, profound, deep. It is an entertaining light comedy. I saw it in the final previews and it got a standing ovation and was quite charming.


Boom H. February 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

I think your review is completely off-base and not an accurate portrayal of what is an amazing show. Cyrus and Annie are both incredible on stage. Annie’s writing connects with her audience–maybe not you, as a critic, but no true artist ever writes for the critic. I highly recommend this play (that’s right, play).


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