For some reason (actually, I know the reason precisely) I was remembering the halcyon days when I was in grammar school (during the late McKinley years). There was a young lady in my class, Jenny Schlossberg, by name, and Jenny had the most extraordinary gift. She could do anything! I mean she could a certain set of anything. I mean she could pick up any musical instrument and master it within fourteen seconds. Frankly, I thought then, and I still think now, she only had to look at the instrument - that is, she could stare at the contrabassoon on the other side of the room - and she could instantly produce on said instrument the most glorious sounds.
I saw Cowgirls, and the ghost of Jenny Schlossberg has inhabited the adorable frame of Mary Murfitt.
I have known of Miss Murfitt's estimable talents for a long time. Actor, instrumentalist, writer, songwriter, etc., and I have always appreciated her seemingly inexhaustible desire to share her gifts with a theatre audience. My appreciation was somewhat dimmed by Cowgirls. It reminded me of an amateur night, where pros were sneaked in, and just so they wouldn't be detected, they "dumbed down" their talent. Miss Murfitt, along with a good cast of ladies, tells a story which might well have been conceived and executed by a precocious bunch oh junior high students, who needed to be told, "Well, that's very nice, now try something for grownups."
The idea: Three classically trained musicians inadvertently get themselves booked into a country-and-western bar, which is on the skids. They don't want to be there, the management doesn't want them there; music, mayhem, lesbianism ensues. Songs are sung, laughs are had, the bar is saved. What's not to like? It cops out, that's what. There is little joy in the willful predictability of the plot, and the only times the plot is unpredictable, is when it doesn't go where we want it to go. The songs are cute. Cute and no more.
So Cowgirls was certainly better than a digital amputation. Much better. But as theatre, Cowgirls rates below - a whole lot.
Please, Miss Murfitt, give us a show as worthy as Oil City Symphony.
Please, Trudy, return my copy of What Maisie Knew.