Therapist Dr. Leche (Aaron Barerra) has a rather unusual dilemma. She has four patients, three gay and one straight, all of which have an unhealthy fixation on a different character from the 1980’s television series, The Golden Girls. At the end of his medical resources and at the end of his patience, Dr. Leche does the only thing he can do. He dons drag and channels advise from the living spirit of legendary sitcom icon, Marla Gibbs.
Jason Baxter's Thoughts
The Golden Gays is a fast-paced, bitchy good time. Each of the four principle actors has his chance to shine, channeling the spirit of his Golden Girls counterpart. John McLaughlin vamps it up as Dorothy, meeting the audience’s laughs at each of his entrances with a challenging glare. John Downey’s Blanche is as flirty and lustful as ever. David Romano delivers Sophia’s famous zingers with a timing and bite that would make Estelle Getty proud. And poor Rose – Irwin Moskowitz’s hilarious take on St. Olaf’s most famous native is one of a starry-eyed moron. And that folks is not a bad thing at all. Aaron Barerra’s Dr. Leche (pronounced La-Shay) is fierce as a man who seems to see himself as a strong black woman, donning the costumes and personalities of The Jeffersons' Florence Johnston, Tyra Banks and Beyonce. Honorable mention must go to Ron Velasco who gamely juggles playing muscular eye candy for “the girls”, some unfortunate drag and even puppeteer duties.
As much fun as I had watching this two hour celebration of a TV classic, I gotta say, this is purely for fans of the original show. If you haven’t watched The Golden Girls reruns in syndication for the past two decades like most of the audience, much of this show’s humor could pass you by. My friend and I laughed continuously at the re-enactment of mean old Frieda Claxton’s funeral, and a visit by Rose’s diminutive new boyfriend Dr. Jonathan Newman. The nostalgic impact of this revisit to “the girls” was obvious when during a scene change, the original theme music played and the audience spontaneously began singing along.
If I had one complaint about the show, it would be the omission of a St. Olaf story or two. Don’t you want to know what Uncle Gunter has been up to lately?
Peppered with musical numbers, over the top drag and a lot of memories, The Golden Gays is highly recommended.
I agree, this show is definitely, but not exclusively, for fans of the television series. There are some really wonderful comedic moments in the show, but many the jokes will be lost on those who are not intimately acquainted with the series. This show is rough around the edges and clunky in the middle, but this audience did not seem to mind the show’s lack of polish.
I personally think I would have preferred the show without the musical numbers. While all the performers sang, I would not call any of them vocalists. Granted, that they sing well is not actually the point. The songs, like the entire show, are a guilty pleasure, an indulgence in irony and a clever turn of phrase. Moreover, The Golden Gays is a celebration of four hugely talented actresses that blessed the television landscape with wonderful characters and opened up a brand new world of laughter.
The Golden Gays is scheduled for a three week run September 10th through September 27, 2009 at:
Cavern Club Theatre @ Casita del Campo
(Mexican Restaurant and Bar)
1920 Hyperion Avenue
Silver Lake, CA 90027
Fridays, Saturdays 9pm