What Happened That Night

IRT Theater, Manhattan

By Andrew Andrews

Tallie Gabriel, Michael Fell and Ellie Gossage portray three drinking high school kids in Lia Romeo’s "What Happened That Night" at IRT Theater in the West Village. Clinton B Photography.

This much we know: they were both really, really drunk. And they had sex. And he’s not a bad guy, except when he’s been drinking. And she didn’t enjoy it in the least.

But was it rape?

Kate (Ellie Gossage), the victim, is telling everyone—except the police—that it was rape. Benny (Michael Fell), her second-best friend, believes her. But Jenna (Tallie Gabriel), her BFF—until now—isn’t convinced. Is it because Jenna knew that Kate was desperate to lose her virginity? Or because Jenna’s been secretly in love with the perpetrator, Derek (Ed Rosini) for such a long time—a fact that Kate knew all along?

What Happened That Night is a powerful story, powerfully expressed by a very talented cast with only two pieces of stock black furniture and a handful of props. Directed by Allison Benko and with costumes by Emily Bono that look straight off the racks of H&M because they should, playwright Lia Romeo’s plot and Project Y Theatre Company remind us that—in an age where accusations alone result in a perception of guilt—there are two sides to every claim, and it can be difficult to determine whose version is most accurate. But as Jenna explains to Derek, “you don’t get to just treat someone right because you like them.”

With a soundtrack (Grace Oberhofer) that kicks in like a heartbeat at just the right time and Russell Jordan as the father who is just as confused about relationships at age 48 as his 17-year-old daughter, What Happened That Night is a not-to-be-missed part of the Women In Theatre Festival at IRT Theater. So take our advice and don’t miss it, then come back here and tell us who’s side you’re on. Whether you agree that this production has important things to say about the #MeToo movement, or agree with Benny that “Kate was raped; that is the only side of the story,” your reviews encourage others to find their own conclusions, and your ratings help us help you discover future events you’ll be glad you didn’t miss!

Andrew Andrews attended What Happened That Night at IRT Theater in Manhattan on Saturday, June 9, 2018 @ 12:34pm to write this review.