“RAT GIRL” impressions by Emily Chandler

Now playing at the Exit Theatre as part of DIVAfest, the annual San Francisco celebration of feminist theatre, RAT GIRL is a new play with music based on the memoir of Kristin Hersh, lead singer and guitarist in the alt-rock group Throwing Muses. The play was written by Stuart Bousel, playwright, director, wearer of many hats and overall significant presence in the independent San Francisco theatre community. I was interested in this play but not able to get to the city to see it, so I sent an emissary from the millennial generation, enthusiast of both theatre and music of all kinds. Here’s Emily Chandler’s report:

"RAT GIRL" Allison Fenner and Heather Kellogg

Allison Fenner and Heather Kellogg

Enter the theater and you enter her world of grime and passion and instability. You are treated to painfully honest music that expresses the confusion of the artists.   The main character, Kristin, is easy to love, yet narcissistic.  She seems to play colors as much as music.  She is surrounded by a host of supportive band mates and groupies who are entertaining in their own right.   The actors do a beautiful job of embodying their characters and you watch as Kristin and her team battle the demands of creativity and rise to success with their music and their own lives. The music performances may not be reproductions of the original, but the covers succeed in capturing the essence of the Throwing Muses, reflecting the torment and uncertainty of a gifted young woman who is fighting an internal war against herself, using the advice of a retired Hollywood singer to adjust her life views and get through the day and through each song as it comes ripping out of her.

The show is witty and compelling,  and truly connects to the audience. You leave the show with a new appreciation for the people who create.

Emily Chandler

RAT GIRL runs through May 24 at the Exit Theatre in San Francisco.


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