Reviews: “The Wolves” in Healdsburg, “Ripcord” in Petaluma

The travails of women at the opposite ends of life are the focus of two very entertaining productions running now at opposite ends of the county. Healdsburg’s Raven Players presents Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves through Feb. 9 while Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater is presenting David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord through Feb. 16.

The cavernous Raven Performing Arts Center has turned its stage into an intimate black box theatre and that’s been turned into an indoor soccer facility where The Wolves, a high school girls soccer team, practice and play. The audience sits in stands on opposite sides of the field and observes the team’s warm-ups over a six-week period. They stretch, they dribble, they kick, and they talk. Boy, do they talk.    

DeLappe’s dialogue has the sting of accuracy as the girls conversate about the competition, college, boys, family, friendship, and loss with language that is often amusing, occasionally heartbreaking, and frequently coarse.

Five of The Wolves

Director Katie Watts-Whitaker has a great ensemble of nine young performers (Willow Orthwein, Katerina Flores, Grace Reid, Abby Miranda, Lily de Laney, Ashley Matteoni, Candice Penland, Seana Maclurre, and Andi Leukens) who give very credible performances and get an emotional and physical workout over the show’s 85 uninterrupted minutes. 

Parents, take your teens to this one. It could lead to some very interesting post-show conversations.

***

Kate Brickley, Laura Jorgensen

The Cinnabar Theater has been transformed into a Senior Living Center where perpetually sour resident Abby Binder (Laura Jorgensen) plots to keep her two-bed unit a private room. Perpetually sunny new arrival Marilyn Dunne (Kate Brickley) will have none of that. As of matter of fact, she wants Abby’s bed by the window. A batttle ensues.

With Ripcord, playwright Lindsay-Abaire (Good People) takes the mismatched-roommates plot and gives it a 21st century makeover. More than just The Odd Couple with the internet, novice director James Pelican brings a deft comedic hand to the material.  

He also has a great cast with the two leading ladies well complemented by a charming Kyle Stoner as an orderly and John Browning, Sarah McKereghan, and Chad Yarish in multiple roles. Outside of the many laughs generated in the ladies’ room, there are hilarious scenes with a ton of physical comedy set in a haunted house and in a sky jumping plane.

Teens, take your grandparents to see this laugh-out-loud show.

Rating for both (out of 5): ★★★★

‘The Wolves’ runs Fri–Sun through Feb. 9 at the Raven Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Fri–Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm.  $5–$28. 707.433.6335. raventheater.org

‘Ripcord’ runs through Feb. 16 at Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Fri–Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. $20–$32. 707.763.8920. cinnabartheater.org

Photos by Ray Mabry and Eric Chazankin

These reviews originally appeared in an edited version in the North Bay Bohemian.

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