Twenty-four hours after viewing Good ‘Ol Girls at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, I found myself heading out to a wedding with my version of good ‘ol girls č my friends Becca and Suzy. They were beside me in the audience the night before watching the play. The whole way to the wedding, we were quoting lines from the play. That says a lot about this{mosimage}{mosimage} play. Not only did it have us in stitches throughout the performance (and sometimes in tears), it kept us in stitches hours later. So, with that in mind, we’re telling you, “Run, don’t walk to see Good ‘Ol Girls.”

Having seen our share of plays at the CFRT, we’ve seen some that we loved, and some of them not so much. But this play takes the cake. Written by Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle, Good ‘Ol Girls knows women intimately. It speaks to our past, our present and our future. It dives into our hopes, our successes and disappointments. More importantly, it celebrates all of them. Unlike other stories that demand perfection from women, Good ‘Ol Girls treats us gently. It acknowledges our faults, our wiggly pieces, our quirks and weaknesses; and then it celebrates them. Instead of beating us up, it lifts us up. And for a modern woman, that’s quite a change.

The story, told through monologues and music, touches on many aspects of a woman’s life: her teen years; her yearning for love; her yearning for a spiritual connection; her ability to excuse the faults of others, while beating herself up over her own. It celebrates the iron hidden beneath the velvet of a woman’s character. We don’t think Bo Thorp, the CFRT artistic director, could have found six actors any better to tell the story than Pamela Bob, Kendra Goehring, Libby Seymour, Gina Stewart, Cassandra Vallery and Liza Vann.

In most plays, there is usually some member of the cast who shines a little brighter than the others. That wasn’t the case. Each of the women brought a unique and important part of themselves to the production. From Pamela Bob’s wild child to Cassandra Vallery’s birthing scene to Gina Stewart’s nursing home resident, each character portrayed resounded with “realness.” It didn’t seem as if they were acting, but rather that they were living the life of their characters. And, that’s when theatre shines.

The audience was enthralled. Throughout the evening you could hear whispers and giggles as members of the audience identified themselves in the characters. The four “good ‘ol girls” sitting next to us were hugging each other in laughter. The two in front hooting when a line struck a chord. And even the men in the audience found something to laugh about č whether it was the attention they garnered when the actors singled them out or the eye-opening insight they gleaned to the secret parts of their spouses.

If a play can ever truly be called a masterpiece, this one comes close. Were their some issues with sound? Yes. Did it matter? Not one bit. Did an actor occasionally stumble over a line? Once or twice č but that’s the heart of this play. For all that society expects us to be perfect, we’re not. We, like the play, are perfect in our imperfection.

So grab your mother, your sisters and your best friends and RUN to get tickets to this play. But leave your children at home. In addition to having big hair, good ‘ol girls also speak frankly about a lot of things č things your children just aren’t ready to talk about yet. 

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