A Round-Heeled Woman: audience reviews

Submit your review to contactus@cagneyandlacey.com - selected reviews will be published here!

Penny Medlyn
(via Cagney & Lacey's official facebook page, 19th December 2011)

I had the pleasure of seeing 'A Round Heeled Woman' at Riverside Studios on Saturday 29th October.  It had been some years since I had seen Sharon on the stage in 'Misery' and this is a very different play to that one.  However, as before, this was a brave and mesmerising performance right from the opening scene.  The supporting cast were very good but this is pretty much a one woman tour de force.  The play is an exploration of age, sexuality and identity, which is quite the invisible taboo these days.  After all, who would want to see a drama that centred on an older woman who is not afraid to admit to being a sexual being?  The answer of course is hundreds of us! 
Sharon's performance is honest and open, funny, sweet, endearing and true.  It's no wonder that the play has now transferred to the West End, this is one not to miss!

Nicholas Campbell 
(via Cagney & Lacey's official facebook page, 4th December 2011)

Saw Sharon's play last night at the Aldwych Theatre in London. It was a magical piece of theatre, Sharon was amazing and her performance deserves an Olivier nomination. It was so sensitive and full of humour and love. Thanks for a very special evening. xx

Judy Leyerzapf
(via e-mail to cagneyandlacey.com, 14th November 2011)

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Sharon Gless in Round Heeled Woman in Hammersmith on November 6th.  My friend and I traveled from Spokane, Washington, met up with two new friends from England and watched the most powerful play.  The consensus among all four of us is that Sharon has the ability to take her audience to different places without the benefit of stage alteration, but with the benefit of a small wardrobe change and incredible acting.   She is engaging with the audience, she never lost focus, and gave to all of us a glimpse into the experience of another human.  I feel honored to have experienced this.   Following the show, I met one of the most genuine and kind people that I have ever met and will never forget the hug and words.   She is a true asset to our human community.   

Tamara Bermudes 
(via e-mail to cagneyandlacey.com, 13th November 2011)

I saw this unbelievable play in San Francisco on Superbowl Sunday of 2010 (and I am a HUGE football fan).  This is a great cast and it's always nice to see Sharon at her best.  I had no idea what this play was about and although the subject line threw me for a loop, the way it was presented was great and done well. The play is fantastic and so is the cast.  You must see it at least once, if not more.  I would love to go to London to see it again.  Don't miss it.

Laura Hammel 
(via e-mail to cagneyandlacey.com, 11th November 2011)

In this touching true life story, A Round-Heeled Woman covers the journey of Jane Juska, a retired Teacher from Berkley who is struggling to come to terms with the significant absence of male companionship in her life. Having never been intimate with a man in over 30 years, Juska placed an ad in The New York Review of Books, which read "Before I turn 67, next March, I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me" - to which she recieved 63 replies from a diverse range of men. Despite some less than satisfying encounters, some of the men who replied to the ad re-lit the passion in Janes life, giving her exactly what she had asked for; a lot of sex with a man she liked. But did this alone fulfill the emptiness she had felt for so many years? 
Despite the title leading you to believe the play is focussed on a woman of promiscuity, it actually touches on many issues people face within their lives, including difficult family relationships, the fear of growing old, past regrets and juggling priorities. In some way, each and every audience member, past and future viewers, will be able to relate to the struggles Jane has faced within her life. 
Multi award winner Sharon Gless, who is famous for playing very strong women, gives a 5* performance as Ms Juska, portraying the events she experienced with such grace and realness. Gless totally engages the audience from the very first moment, carrying them through the inspiring tale of courage, determination, loneliness, love and longing. The small supporting cast are also brilliant as the friends, family and potential lovers of Jane. 
The play, lasting approx 95mins, had me completely mesmerized from beginning to end. For me personally, Sharon absolutely owned the stage and I was truly moved by her ability to bring such humour to a play which also brought a tear to my eye! There were as many funny moments as there were heart-wrenching ones and this excellence resulted in a much deserved standing ovation for the leading lady. This play is an absolute must see, and is guaranteed to be enjoyed by everyone who watches it! 

Penny Cropper
(via e-mail to cagneyandlacey.com, 26th October, 2011)

A Round Heeled Woman is a stage version of a book by Jane Juska, an academic who after many years of solitude seeks some intimacy. In a bold move, she takes an advertisement out in a literary paper which states that before she reaches her 67th birthday (the following year) she would like to have a lot of sex with a man she likes.

The play explores her journey of responses, received and pursued.  It functions with a small cast playing the various roles, from would be suitors to friends, and even Jane’s dead mother. The only constant is Sharon Gless who plays Jane. Sharon is no stranger to the small screen, often playing tough talking, no nonsense characters with a unique blend of vulnerability, wit and fine tuned comic timing. It is these strengths that she brings to the role of Jane.

The play examines the rarely discussed subject of female sexual desire after a certain age. It rewrites the myth that after a certain age, a woman can no longer feel desired, nor is she allowed to be desired.

Throughout the play the audience are given brief insights in to the insecurities that Jane suffers, including the broken relationship she had with her mother who she feels pushed her into marriage upon the discovery that she was pregnant. She also has a dysfunctional relationship with her son, who seems to resent her for leaving his dad and ruining their perceived idyllic life. There are frequent appearances by Miss McKenzie, a Victorian heroine of Jane’s favourite author Anthony Trollope, whose life it seems to parallel Jane’s in terms of her indecision with regards to which path her life should follow. This dilemma is succinctly summed up in the line ‘you are on page 247 of 249’, which suggest an existence constrained by limited choices.

In summary, the subject of the play is not an easy one to deal with as most people have the preconceived notion that sexual intercourse and the elderly form mutually exclusive sets. However, what this play has done is to encapsulate the awkwardness (and sometimes desperation) of the dating game, regardless of age, gender or sexual persuasion - and it has managed to do this whilst retaining dignity, humour and intimacy. Not once throughout the play did the audience lose sympathy for the main character, nor can it be said that she ever in fact gave the impression of being a ‘round heeled woman’. Instead the play demonstrated that regardless of age, girls never want to stop having fun.

Gail Russell 
(via e-mail to cagneyandlacey.com, 24th October 2011)

I really didn't know what to expect from 'A Round Heeled Woman'. I had never seen Sharon Gless on the stage before, and being such a fan of Sharon's, and loving her from such characters as Det. Christine Cagney and Rosie O'Neill, I was concerned it would all be too different to how I perceived 'I knew her'. Being of a younger generation, I also wondered if I would be able to relate to Jane Juska's story.

But... I was NOT disappointed at all. I thoroughly enjoyed the play, feeling a real connection with it, experiencing the roller coaster that Jane was on (being able to relate more than I thought I would). The cast were excellent and as for Sharon - she was fantastic! I completely forgot she was 'Cagney'! (apart from when she laughed and I thought, 'ah there she is'). I felt I had got to know someone completely different and new - the very brave and inspirational Jane Juska.

The light-hearted moments were very funny and the sad moments, very poignant - and I can't wait to go through the journey all again a second time as I have booked to see it next month!