GayFest Review: The Beebo Brinker Chronicles

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

A dramatic goodbye opens up The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, as one half of a lesbian couple, Beth,  decides at the last minute to marry a man rather than follow her lover, Laura, to New York City. From there, we follow Laura and Beth’s separate lives and the twists they take.

Laura (Kara Boland) is guided into the secret world of lesbian life by one Jack Mann (Keith Conallen), a worldly gay man who introduces her to the titular Beebo Brinker. Beebo, with her boyish hair and exaggerated swagger, embodies the personality of the play, channeling pulpy camp, melodrama, biting cynicism, and underneath it all an earnest longing for love. As Beebo, Amanda Grove radiates with intensity, even when playing for laughs.

Back in California, Beth (Carly Bodnar) struggles with heterosexual married life. She dislikes her children and hides in lesbian pulp novels that she carelessly leaves lying around the house. Her husband (Rob Neddoff) is frustrated and perplexed.

The years pass by, as Beth and Laura struggle through their respective hardships, and in the end the two are at very two different people than they were starting out. Kara Boland’s Laura is striking in her transformation and delivers a stand-out performance.

In spite of an occasional unevenness in tone, The Beebo Brinker Chronicles provides a glimpse into life before the famous Stonewall Riots and insight into how sexual outlaws had to arrange their lives to achieve some semblance of happiness.

Showtimes and venue information for the plays of GayFest are available at

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