Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Published: July 28th 2010
in Culture » Stage

Love, Loss and What I Wore

For some girls, it’s their favourite pair of sky-high heels. For others it’s their prom dress, or their wedding dress, or their first bra. But as every girl knows, each piece of clothing conjures up some sort of memory, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore explores those stories – from childhood mishaps to first love to the death of a parent – and proves that clothing is one of the most evocative ways to trigger key moments in a woman’s life.


Written by Nora and Delia Ephron (whose credits include Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail) and based on the original book by Ilene Beckerman, Love, Loss, and What I Wore comes straight from New York, where it was a smash hit Off-Broadway and featured a rotating cast of five actresses, all of whom sit on black stools and read off music stands for the duration of the show. Here, Paula Brancati, Andrea Martin, Sharron Matthews, Louise Pitre and Mary Walsh star in the premiere Toronto cast; on August 10, Lauren Collins, Wendy Crewson, Cynthia Dale, Margot Kidder and Linda Kash take over for another four weeks.


The stories range from funny to sexy to touching, and since they’re culled from real women, the monologues ring true. I especially liked Paula Brancati’s account of a girl’s two very different prom experiences – one where she’s stuck in an ugly dress and with a loser on her arm, the other where her date and her dress are among the hottest at school – and Andrea Martin’s all-too-relatable rant against her voluminous mess of a purse, which had the audience in stitches.


Naturally, many of the stories deal with mother-daughter relationships, from mom’s style tips (“Nice Jewish girls do not get their ears pierced”) to hilarious criticisms (“You look like a waitress in a Hungarian restaurant”), and whole sections are devoted to the colour black, the store changing room and dressing like Madonna (spoken in hilariously overdone Valley Girl accents).


All five women are engaging, but Louise Pitre brings an extra layer of class to her roles, whether she’s recalling a divorce or grieving over the death of a child (she’s also a stand-in for Beckerman herself). And Andrea Martin is the certified standout – her brassy voice and knack for accents are just perfect for the anti-purse tirade, her ode to a missing shirt (and how that loss parallels the breakup of a relationship) and her fantasies about ‘losing’ her husband.


At 90 minutes the show runs much too long for what is essentially five women sitting in a row and talking to the audience – it could have easily been tightened up by cutting a few tales. And as my companion pointed out, it’s very much a ‘white’ show: Love, Loss tells the stories of women of different ages, body shapes and sexual orientations, but it would have been nice to see some racial or ethnic diversity. Still, for what is essentially a light, fluffy chick-flick-for-the-stage, Love, Loss is a pleasant way to spend an evening, with a good balance of serious and humourous moments, and some witty insights into how clothing can make a woman. Even if you’re not a fashionista – or not even a woman – you’re guaranteed to be examining your outfit just a little more closely as you leave the theatre.




Love, Loss, and What I Wore runs to Sept. 4, 2010 at the Panasonic Theatre. For more information, visit

Related articles: (stage, love loss and what i wore, nora ephron, delia ephron, ilene beckerman, fashion)

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