Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a play by Nora and Delia Ephron, is based on the 1995 book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman. We are introduced to five women who take it in turns presenting individual, and sometimes joint, monologues. These range from irreverent and funny to painful and heartbreaking, the common theme being their recollection of what they wore.
There is the electric blue bathrobe, a painful reminder of a mother lost too soon, a white shirt, lost and symbolic of the demise of a relationship, and the boots that serve as a painful reminder of a rape she’d rather forget. Throughout all the separate stories is our main narrator, Gingy. Over the course of the two acts, with the help of drawings, we are taken through Gingy’s life, which she recalls by speaking of her most memorable outfits. From an awkward child to a young woman and through several marriages – there is an outfit and corresponding drawing, for every stage of her life.
Some of the most humorous moments are when four of the women stand together and present the common stereotypes women face every day – “does my bum look big in this?” “I have nothing to wear!” “At a certain age you need to stop wearing Supre”. Love, Loss, and What I Wore is incredibly relatable – more so if you’re female – and whether it intends to or not, there is distinct feminist undertones as you are confronted with the societal body, beauty and fashion hang-ups that seem to only ever be directed at women. I doubt many men have been told how attractive they would be, if only they lost some weight.
Sandy Velini and Leigh Scanlon are absolute standouts with their conviction and sense of comic timing. With a set design that consists of five chairs and some artful lighting, and simple costuming that does not change throughout, there is a lot of pressure on the actors to deliver. There is nothing obstructing the actor from the audience, no overwhelming set or costume design to fall back on. While the performances were impressive, I really dislike exaggerated American accents in theatre. I understand that throughout the play there were references to the U.S, in particular to New York City, but the accents were distracting and hindered rather than enhanced the performance.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore will make you laugh, potentially make you cry and will have you reflecting on your own wardrobe and the outfits that have left their mark on your memories.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore runs until June 25 at The Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground. Bookings via www.paviliontheatre.org.au.
The reviewer attended the show on June 3.