One Girl, Two Cities

Fringe Review: Pretty Girls Make Graves

Emily Dussault and Katie Willer, photo by Justin D Gallo Photography

Emily Dussault and Katie Willer, photo by Justin D Gallo Photography

BMX worships The Smiths. Carla is basic bitch. A dark comedy about friendship, foot fetishes, and shake weights from the writer of A Sad Carousel and the folks who brought you Kitty Kitty Kitty.

Last year, I loved Loudmouth Collective’s Kitty Kitty Kitty (read my Q&A with the director and my review here), so Pretty Girls Make Graves was one of the first shows to go on my calendar this year.

We find BMX (Katie Willer) in her brother’s apartment listening to vinyl and packing up his things. He has recently passed away. His girlfriend Carla (Emily Dussault) comes in, surprised to find someone there, especially his sister because she didn’t even know he had a sister. Yet they dated for 10 months.

The women start drinking and we learn a little more about them. Where BMX is strong and direct, Carla seems less self-assured. BMX will only listen to The Smiths, which is something Carla can’t comprehend considering the limitless amount of music in the world. Carla’s been trying not to swear as much whereas BMX lets the F-bombs fly. Willer and Dussault have wonderful on-stage chemistry together; they’re so natural in how their characters respond to each other.

Early on, I found myself wondering, “What will be the end result? Will they be friends? Is this a piece about a chunk of time and the women learn something from each other then go their separate ways?” You never know what a playwright might choose to do with 60 minutes.

Well, here’s what I ended up writing in my notes: Whoa.

Playwright Sam Landman has included a twist that I didn’t see coming, and I immediately wanted to rewatch the whole show because I could only remember one moment that eluded to it. He and director Natalie Novacek make an excellent team, and I love the delivery of this piece. The sudden intensity made my jaw drop, and then I had to smile because of how perfect it was.

I’ll admit that I feel like I found myself chuckling a little more often than the rest of the audience, so it appears Landman’s humor isn’t universal. But it’s smart, subtle humor which isn’t an easy feat to accomplish. Most audience members can at least relate to BMX’s passion for music, and it’s totally ok if you don’t know who The Smiths are. We all have that one band or artist we would choose if we had to listen to only one for the rest of our lives. We’ve all come across music that has touched us in a way only music can.

Pretty Girls Make Graves is raw and funny and edgy. There’s a lot packed into this hour of theatre, and it’s worth adding it to your Fringe schedule because it’s so well done. Tickets are available for purchase online.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival runs July 30 – Aug 9. Check out the Fringe website for more details.

2 thoughts on “Fringe Review: Pretty Girls Make Graves

  1. Pingback: Pretty Girls Make Graves | Natalie Novacek

  2. Pingback: Pretty Girls Make Graves | Loudmouth Collective

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