Review: The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead (Writers’ Theatre)

| June 11, 2012
Deborah Staples as Rhonda - Redhead, Writers Theater Chicago, Robert Hewett       
The Blonde, the Brunette
  and the Vengeful Redhead

Written by Robert Hewett  
Directed by Joseph Hanreddy
at Writers’ Theatre, Glencoe (map)
thru July 29   |  tickets: $55-$60  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review


Coiffed to perfection


Deborah Staples as Tanya - Blonde, Writers Theatre, Robert Hewett, Chicago Deborah Staples as Lynette - Brunette, Writers Theatre, Robert Hewett Deborah Staples as Rhonda - Redhead, Writers Theatre, Robert Hewett
Writers’ Theatre presents
The Blonde, the Brunette
      and the Vengeful Redhead

Review by Katy Walsh 

Hair is an ever-changing statement.  I cut and color mine accordingly.  I was born a brunette.  I’ve been every shade of red, both imaginable and inconceivable.  I even had a disastrous stint trying to go platinum blonde.  I’m probably naturally gray at this point but I don’t feel that way.  So, I continue to streak and dye to match my current life mood.

Writers’ Theatre presents The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead.  Graham left Rhonda.  She’s devastated.  Lynette tries to console Rhonda and riles her up. Rhonda loses it and ends up in the police station.  What happened?  Seven people are about to give their versions of the event.  Everybody’s perspective is different and it all comes down to one woman’s reality.  The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead is coiffed to perfection.  

Playwright Robert Hewett wrote an intricate one woman show.  He uses seven different characters to narrate the story.  Hewett’s monologues give each character a distinct personality and viewpoint. The audience’s perspective continues to change as a new character fills in missing information. The dimensionality of this story is my favorite kind of life connectivity. Under Joseph Hanreddy’s masterful direction, Deborah Staples is extraordinary!  Never leaving the stage, Staples continually dons new clothes, makeup and hair and totally immerses herself into a new persona.  She spectacularly plays a wide range:  british doctor, 4 year-old boy, white trash skank, Russian jeweler, old woman, sleazy guy.  Staples’ transformations are completely transfixing.  Her look, her voice, her posture:  Staples continually stuns!  

Part of this show’s allure is the design team’s vision actualized.  In particular, Scenic Designer Linda Buchanan creates a stark interrogation room.  Buchanan cleverly uses the panels to conceal closets of character reinvention. The scene transition is Staples opening a hidden door for a wardrobe change. Martha Hally (costumes) and Nick Heggestad (properties) fill the cubbies with detailed identification. The door leads to the character’s true essences. It’s a powerful visual reinforcement to Staples’ metamorphosis.  I loved this symbolism!

Staples is visiting from the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.  She has been a company member there for sixteen seasons.  Her Writers‘ debut is so exceptional that I’m considering a Wisconsin road trip.  Don’t miss Writers’ The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. This is going to be a HOT ticket! It certainly should be a summer Staple(s). But don’t wig out, I’m guessing there will be some hair extensions as long as Staples is available.

Rating: ★★★½

The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead continues through July 29th at Writers’ Theatre, 644 Vernon Avenue, Glencoe (map), with performances Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Wednesdays 2pm and 7:30pm, Thursdays/Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 4pm and 8pm, Sundays 2pm and 6pm.  Tickets are $55-$60, and are available by phone (847-242-6000) or online through (check for half-price tickets at More information at time: 2 hours 20 minutes, includes an intermission)

Deborah Staples as Lynette - Brunette, Writers Theatre Glencoe

All photos by Michael Brosilow 




Deborah Staples

behind the scenes

Joeseph Hanreddy (director); Linda Buchanan (set); Keith Parham (lighting); Barry Funderberg (sound design); Nick Heggestad (props); Martha Hally (costumes); Michael Brosilow (photos)


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Category: 2012 Reviews, Katy Walsh, Writers' Theatre

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