Cowgirls in the Bland

A passel of good intentions makes for a mess of a show

To be fair, it's not just classical musicians Rita (Dougherty), Lee (Rutherford), and Mary Lou (Bowen) who are redeemed by the cornpone feast they're served when wires get crossed and their Coghill Trio is confused for a group called the Cowgirl Trio. Jo Carlson learns to stop reflexively judging city slickers, and to quit being so protective of the country tradition. Mo gets to meet a real-life lesbian when Lee, who sings an admittedly touching tune about how she has grown sick of switching the pronoun of her girlfriend to the masculine when operating in the mainstream, says she'll match her ex-wives with Mo's ex-husbands any day. Well-intentioned, yes, and generally true, but so much consensus smothers dramatic or comic effectiveness. Everyone's so busy learning how alike they are that Betsy Howie's book blands everybody out. This effect is expressed best in the bad hick drag Allied Theatre utilizes for this show: When they're trapped underneath those sprayed manes of country hair, the uniquely talented cast members all become identical.

From left: Pam Dougherty, Melinda Wood Allen, Lynne Rutherford, and Katy Bowen are effortlessly appealing in Mary Murfitt's and Betsy Howie's bizarre mess of a musical revue.
Buddy Myers
From left: Pam Dougherty, Melinda Wood Allen, Lynne Rutherford, and Katy Bowen are effortlessly appealing in Mary Murfitt's and Betsy Howie's bizarre mess of a musical revue.

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