BWW Review: Hysterical CHICO'S ANGELS 4: CHICAS ARE 4EVER Should Run Forever, Forever, Forever...
Chico's Angels, the comedy drag troupe celebrating their 14th year performing in the bowels of Silver Lake's Casita Del Campo, delivers once again with their latest laugh-filled riot CHICO'S ANGELS 4: CHICAS ARE 4EVER. Think 70's TV classic Charlie's Angels re-envisioned as Latina drag queens at their best (and sometimes tackiest). The literary-gifted combo of James Edward Quinn, Kurt Koehler and Oscar Quintero has overhauled their old, dependable chestnut version of CHICAS ARE 4EVER from years back and transformed it into a new and improved, full-length musical. Escrewing their practice of taking oldies-but-goodies and parodying the heck out of them, CHICAS ARE 4EVER utilizes only original songs (composed by Dan Ring with lyrics by Mr. Dan), save the title song "Chicas Are 4Ever," a loving and most fitting homage to "Diamonds Are Forever."
Koehler sure-handedly directs his comedic drag queen tag team, known collectively as Chico's Angels, as guffawing hijinks, spanglish banter and bull-eyed insults ensue in their two-hour-plus over-the-top antics.
The Angels - Kay Sedia, Chita Parol and Frieda Laye, and their liaison to the never-seen Chico, Bossman - have some of the consistently best comic timing seen from any well-oiled, well-coiffed group. These four performers always have each others' back on stage, (unlike the egotistical Kay, or the frequently called 'stupid' Frieda or the lower lip-quiverings and high fan-kicking of Rita). Line flubs causing scene partners to break become comedy gold, just as with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway in the classic The Carol Burnett Show.
The fifth core component of this comedic group, lyricist Mr. Dan does triple duty as the welcoming, always topical, always quite amusing warm-up act handling pre-show instructions, and as Chico's disembodied voice of authority over the phone speaker.
The Angels in CHICAS ARE 4EVER must complete their new assignment of retrieving Countess Tago's stolen diamond. The plot (and accents) thicken as the Angels uproariously bungle and gloriously sing their way through solving this jewel heist. No spoiler here as Chico's Angels always get a happy ending, sometimes more than one. It's Chico's Angels!
Guests performers for this Chico's Angels episode include the very funny and talented foursome, each playing a main supporting character and an assortment of other roles: Cher Ferreyra (Ms. Tightbush), Beth Leckbee (Countess Tago), Daran Noris (Senor Crooke) and, in the audience-favorite role of Guest Hunk - Travis Quinten as the presumed dead, lost-at-sea lover of Kay Sedia's - Manuel Hung. (Repeat this name a number of ways until ju get the double entendre.)
Their low-tech stage effects achieve more effective hilarious results than those costing thousands, ummm, even hundreds. (i.e. a stuffed fish tossed from off-stage; dolls and stuffed dogs stunt-doubling for real humans and canines; a large, shiny piece of fabric entangling Kay and Manuel Hung as drowning ocean waves; a glass-cracking sound effect when the Angels step 'through' the TV set screen; the voice effects of Senor Crooke pressing his safe combination followed immediately by Frieda duplicating it; a blue-painted wooden board serving as the opaque ocean hiding Manuel Hung losing his trunks.)
Kudos to Craig Taggart and Terry Castillo for their outrageous wardrobe and wigs, especially the Angels' huge, voluminous gala gowns.
CHICAS ARE 4EVER's original two-week run has been sold-out. Check their website www.ChicosAngels.com for additional extended dates.
Ju will not estop laughing.