NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
Home with the Handbag
Sun. June 28, 2020 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
The Golden Girls are learning some new tricks these days during a global pandemic and are coming back to life thanks to Hell in a Handbag Productions. The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 4 - Lockdown! is the first digital online production from the troupe led and written by artistic director David Cerda. It's a trial run for the Golden gang that plays now until August 15 with $20 tickets available for purchase at Stage773.com and HandbagProductions.org.
The plot told in several chapters revolves around Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia being quarantined inside their house after Legionnaires' disease is spread throughout Miami possibly by one of the gals as patient zero. For those that aren't familair with legionella bactieria, it spreads through a mist and can be caused by inhaling water or soil, so being on the lanai would not be a good idea in this case.
There are pluses and minuses to putting on a production digitally. Many of the loyal following of Hell in a Handbag will miss the live interaction and campy flubs that come with the group. There are thankfully more jokes than the recent RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars episode parody of the popular TV show that some watchers were frustrated about.
Ed Jones as Rose continues to be the gem in the Geritol. There's no better cure for the blues than a puppet show and I wish there had been even more of the funny bit. More commercials would have certainly added more to the humor along the breaks with plenty to play off of in 1992.
The Nancy Drew character is back and it's no mystery why she is popular. thanks to Danne W. Taylor's performance. Keith Ryan's wigs fit just right on the cast and the production team obviously worked hard to make things look smooth.
While the cast doesn't get to feed off the laughs of a live audience, there are some opportunities that have not been there before. Now Hell in a Handbag can be seen by an international audience and no longer limited to the Chicago area. The show can be watched by fans at their leasure and time frame, which is a perk. The team can archive and capture their work in a way that filming at the theater doesn't allow.
Past members of Hell in a Handbag were able to participate and contribute during a difficult time and that was a welcome sight to see. Can a stop motion animation production of Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer be in the works for the holidays? Looks like Handbag is doing Christmas Dearest instead, but will her wire hangers be socially distant? Only time will tell as theaters continue to adapt to a ever changing climate. Hats off to Handbag for making a production at home!