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Annie McNamara. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Who run the world? Beyoncé and playwright Kate Scelsa both agree that is, indeed, “Girls.” Actually, in the case of her new play, Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf, Sclesa argues that it’s women who run the world-powerful women who have been demonized for defying societal expectations.  She couldn’t be more right.

Elevator Repair Service, best known for Gatz (a spin on The Great Gatsby), is back on the boards with a hilarious send-up of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

April Matthis & Annie McNamara. Photo by Joan Marcus,

Those already familiar with the liquor-laced night of George (Vin Knight) Martha (Annie McNamara), Nick (Mike Iveson), and Honey (April Matthis) know that they’re in for an irresistible train wreck.  Under director John Collins’ capable hands, this enormously talented cast puts the legendary characters in frenzied overdrive for 90 minutes of twisted fun. Scelsa even includes a fifth character, not depicted in the original source material:  Carmilla (Lindsay Hockaday) a PhD candidate who winds up making George’s life a living hell.

Ladies win big this time around. The men? Not so much. Still, both sexes will be entertained—and even educated—by this intellectually sound parody.

Mike Iveson& Annie McNamara. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Without prior knowledge of the Albee play, it’s unlikely that this piece will be as enjoyable. Literary references ranging from Tennessee Williams to Henrik Ibsen are also included.  Yet literary deconstruction is the genre for which Elevator Repair Service is known. To that end, it’s encouraging to see a theater company choose intelligence and substance over commercialized cotton candy. Even in its silliest moments, Everyone’s Fine clings to undeniable truth.

Even more exciting are the performances. This is truly one of the tightest ensembles around town and their chemistry is sheer bliss. There is art to parody and this group nails it. With light speed dialogue and plenty of physical humor, they stop at nothing for a laugh.

Annie McNamara & Vin Knight. Photo by Joan Marcus

Elevator Repair Service’s Everyone’s Fine With Virginia Woolf. Now through June 30th. Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street, Manhattan).  For tickets and information, click here 

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