Five Women wearing the same dress, Circle Theatre. Weddings don’t have to be stressful, of course, but the ceremony in Alan Ball’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress is one of those extravaganzas staged by rich, doting parents for vain, spoiled daughters. Fortunately we get to view the festivities from the sanctuary of a sister’s bedroom, where the five bridesmaids flee the relentless gaiety.

They’re the standard female bomber squadron: Trisha, the cynical ex-slut; Georgeanne, the shrill weeper; Frances, the naive fundamentalist; Mindy, the clean-cut lesbian; and Meredith, the rebellious kid sister. As the reception progresses and alcohol and fatigue take their toll, the five share gossip, secrets, opinions, and dreams–mini editorials on timely issues alternating with gleefully bitchy levity for two hours before the obligatory group hug. It’s all as artificial as a TV-sitcom pilot, but the cast assembled by Circle Theatre director Greg Kolack–particularly Bethanny Alexander and Janelle Rienstra Snow–sell the brittle, scattershot dialogue with all their might.

–Mary Shen Barnidge