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Stage review: "Parisian" offers a sexy look behind closed doors

(c) Garden Grove Journal

April 24, 2013

By Larry Taylor

Dana Delaney stars in "The Parisian Woman" at SCR.
Beau Willimon's new play, "The Parisian Woman," brings to mind back-biting life in the dark rooms of inner Washington, where key government decisions are made.

Willimon's new play is now receiving its world premeire at South Coast Repertory. He adapted this 19th century French comedy by Henri Becuis, "La Parisienne." The subject today is as appropriate to French Courtly life as it is for current shenanigans in today's capitol.

Heading this production is a masterful performance by Dana Delaney as Chloe, the ambitious, scheming wife of a rising Washington presidential cabinet member. She has great ambitions to get her husband, Tom, (Steven Weber), a high appointment and will do anything to get it, including betraying her boyfriend Peter (Steven Culp).

This is only the half of it; her female friend and confidant, the Hilary-like Jeanette (Linda Gehringer), thinks she has the key to pushing Tom's future, but to Chloe she can't be trusted, and she decides she won't act on her advice.

One of the play's most powerful scenes is a confrontation between the two formidable women. Here, the tables are turned between the two and - ingeniously, things are not at all what they seemed as Chole reveals her "ace in the hole." Jeanette and the audience gasp at her gutsy play.

The cast in all aspects is strong, led by director Pam MacKinnon.

"The Parisian Woman" plays on the Argyros Stage in Costa Mesa through May 5.

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