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Review: 'Girls Only' an amusing romp, escape for women

| Friday, June 8, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein go through a diary in  “Girls Only — The Secret Comedy of Women.”
Terry Shapiro | Pittsburgh CLO
Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein go through a diary in “Girls Only — The Secret Comedy of Women.” Terry Shapiro | Pittsburgh CLO


Guys have their cigar bars and man caves.

Through Sept. 2, women have a temporary place to congregate, share some giggles and indulge in an extensive selection of funny and fruity cocktails adorned with little paper parasols.

“Girls Only — The Secret Comedy of Women,” that's playing at CLO Cabaret, Downtown, provides an amusing and upbeat interlude to kick off those working-world high heels and power suits for a two-hour celebration of stuff that guys just don't want to hear about — bras, purses, showers, breast-feeding and menopause.

Musical numbers, a couple of black-and-white videos and a few forays into audience-interaction are interspersed through the proceedings.

Actresses and improv performers Barbara Gehring and Linda Klein created the show after sharing and laughing about the diaries from their middle-school years. Realizing they had shared similar experiences, though they grew up in very different places, inspired them to create the show.

The result is far from an angry, issues-oriented journey.

These girls just want to have fun.

Scenic designer Tony Ferrieri fills the wide CLO Cabaret stage with a girly pink bedroom filled with the posters, stuffed animals, French Provincial furniture, trophies and general detritus that offers nods to the bedrooms of Gehring's and Klein's pre-teen years.

The decor extends to the audience area with small bouquets of Crayola-colored silk flowers on table tops and daisy-decorated lamp shades above the hightops.

The show begins with childhood reminiscences of those innocent, but highly dramatic pre-teen forays into love and dating, pivotal moments such as first bras and traumas that include the loss of a beloved stuffed animal.

It moves forward in time gradually to cover more-adult female experiences, while maintaining a light and fun attitude toward throughout.

One of the show's most successful moments are a pas-de-deux ballet choreographed around the womanly task of putting on a pair of panty hose.

The biggest, giddiest laughs came when Gehring and Klein donned curly grey wigs and glasses to become Marge and Jeneanne, the co-presenters of a television show on craft ideas for the post-menopausal.

Despite the show's title, men are welcomed and several were in attendance at the performance I attended.

While there's no male-bashing or topics that would make men uncomfortable, it's definitely a show aimed at women and best enjoyed as an outing for female friends. Bringing a man would be the rough equivalent of taking a teenager to a retirement seminar.

It's also important to note that Gehring and Klein will be performing the show through July 1. As of July 6, two area actresses — Christine Laitta and Theo Allyn — will take over the roles.

Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or

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