Broadway World Review: WEBSTER’S BITCH

Playwright Jacqueline Bircher has done a seemingly impossible task with her play, WEBSTER’S BITCH. She’s written a compelling, funny, and dramatic show about lexicography and, subsequently, lexicographers.

Keegan’s production of WEBSTER’S BITCH has all the ingredients of a terrific outing at the theatre. First, Bircher’s script wastes no space coming in at a tight 90 minutes but somehow manages to cover a lot of ground. We learn enough about each character to really care about their respective objectives in the play, and this is particularly true with Gwen. So many of us have felt our worth was not recognized by our employers and, therefore, have had to fight for that recognition. It’s a universal theme that connects the audience with the play effortlessly.

And though I can’t say getting caught on a hot mic is a universal experience, we’ve all perhaps said something we shouldn’t have when the wrong person (or persons, in this case) was listening and had to deal with the fallout. The bottom line is the play is chock full of situations and people we can relate to.

Additionally, Keegan has assembled a first-rate cast that brings each character to life splendidly. Fabiolla Da Silva as Gwen shoulders much of the play’s heft and does so spectacularly. Irene Hamilton as her sister Ellie is also excellent as the comic relief, but she has enough of a well-rounded character to be realistic and believable. Andrés F. Roa as Nick does tremendous work, and my only qualm with him was his extended absence from the stage in the show’s middle section. Not his fault at all! As the deeply-serious boss of Gwen and Nick, Sheri S. Herren no doubt brought up some of the audience’s traumatic memories of hard-nosed bosses of the past as Joyce, and Timothy H. Lynch perfectly captures the swagger and arrogance of the top-of-the-food-chain boss, Frank.

There is truly no weak link in this ensemble, and each does their part to elevate an already solid script. Of course, credit must also be given to the production’s Director, and Keegan’s Artistic Director, Susan Marie Rhea. Rhea had a plethora of riches at her disposal and made the most of it with this piece.

WEBSTER’S BITCH delivers a powerful punch in a tight 90-minute package. It questions how we use language and explores the people who get to write the rules of that language.