(top, l to r) David Cerda and Grant Drager with (bottom, l to r) Ed Jones and Ryan Oates in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ virtual world premiere of THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 4 – LOCKDOWN!
Everyone’s favorite geriatric drag quartet goes digital in The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 4 —LOCKDOWN! Written by Hell in a Handbag Artistic Director David Cerda and directed by Spenser Davis, the Zoom-style performance finds the girls in a 30–day quarantine after Blanche returns from SantaCon with Legionnaires.
Mr. Cerda, who plays Dorothy, kicks things off by humming the famous theme song. Thanks to copyright laws, they post a chyron of parody lyrics like, “If you ask a lawyer if someone had the right to sue…”
Since in their universe it’s perpetually 1992, the girls of gold do some pretty complicated backbends to explain away their masks and access to video conferencing. Luckily, Rose (Ed Jones) shows up in a chicken mask with one her rambling St. Olaf stories about a barn wired with video cameras to communicate with sick cows.
Soon, the cameras are trained on Blanche (Grant Drager), whom ABC7 Eyewitness News has dubbed The Viral Vamp for infecting the greater Miami area. Apparently, during her three days at the conference, she interacted with hundreds (or, as the actual Blanche would say, “many, many men”), leading to a local outbreak. Now, she’s stuck in her bedroom with only her “arsenal of sex toys” to entertain her.
Rose uses her downtime to make tiny puppets of her roommates, with which she role-plays her grievances. Then, she puts on her sexiest blouse, (“it has a bow”) for a tele-date with her boyfriend Miles (Michael Miller). When he whips out his huge ‘conversation piece,’ Rose wilts, Blanche perks up, and Dorothy quips, “I got an STD just listening to that.”
Before long, everyone in town Is sheltering at home and teleconferencing like crazy. We see call-ins from Sophia’s (Ryan Oates) weird friend Nancy (Danne W. Taylor), who’s led an anarchistic overthrow of Shady Pines, and from Blanche’s arch-rival, younger tramp Misty Connolly (Tyler Anthony Smith).
Stan (Lori Lee) rings in with a bad combover to brag about his novelty shops’ run on facemasks that heat up with your breath to read, “I’m horny.”
“That’s unconscionable!” shrieks Blanche, adding, “How do I get one?”
Fast-forward three weeks into quarantine: Dorothy has a five o’clock shadow, Sophia’s plotting her return to Shady Pines, and they’re all showing roots. Worse still, Sophia ate all the cheesecake!
With a running time of an hour and ten minutes, this showpiece is likely only the first of what’s sure to become a theater trend. And at $20 for the Vimeo rental, it’ll appeal to fans who have already binged everything else.
Still, one hopes future productions will iron out some kinks. The show does well with nutty additions like phony commercials for adult diapers and life insurance. But the script veers off course halfway through when too many other characters dial-in.
We don’t need to hear from Misty or Esther, or even Stan. Still, it’s the company’s first attempt at digital. Future escapades of The Fab Four are enough to hold our attention, provided they keep the drag-tastic zingers flying.
So, gather your quarantine bubble together, pour some stiff drinks and take a virtual trip to Miami. Because if you can’t get to the drag queens, they will come to you.
The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 4 —LOCKDOWN!
Hell in a Handbag Productions, Stage 773
Streaming on Vimeo
Through August 15
Winnie McCroy is a longtime arts & entertainment writer who lives in Brooklyn with her wife and her giant Rottweiler, Dixie Carter. For more of her reviews, visit winniemccroy.com.