Rated 2.0

This play by Jack Heifner doesn’t live up to its opening promise of chronicling the lives of three boomer women, a failure that is only highlighted when, as in the current Lambda Players production, the actresses are quite good. In fact, the better the actresses—and, having seen several productions of Vanities, this trio is among the best—the more the flaws of the play become apparent. It boils down to a flat third act, because the first two acts are set-ups for conflict that never is resolved. That might resemble real life, but it doesn’t make for fulfilling theater.

Lambda’s production gives fullness to spare sets by placing three mirrored vanities behind a curtain that rises and falls between acts. The actresses—Cynthia Drumbor, Sandra McCord and Angela R. Thompson—transform over the years behind a sheer curtain but in view of the audience. It’s a good way to deal with a play that takes place over such a long period of time, but it doesn’t quite work to equate dressing-room furniture—vanities—with the vanity expressed in the characters’ self-involvement.

Drumbor’s Joanne is a good-hearted ditz and, by the final curtain, is the most likeable character. However, neither Joanne nor Mary, Thompson’s rebel wild child, undergo much change. That honor goes to McCord’s Kathy, who goes from head cheerleader to heartbroken P.E. teacher to mysterious “kept” woman. McCord, an able actress who was nominated for an Elly for her work in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, does her best with the role.

It’s a good effort, but there’s not much that can be done when, as the good book says, “all is vanity.”