Review: GOLDEN GIRLS at Masque Theatre Is a Hilarious and Moving Tribute to the Classic TV Show

This vibrant show encapsulates four episodes of this fan-favourite.

By: May. 29, 2024
Review: GOLDEN GIRLS at Masque Theatre Is a Hilarious and Moving Tribute to the Classic TV Show
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GOLDEN GIRLS is one of those TV shows – you know the ones I mean. Those with a fan base whose members would murder to preserve the sanctity of the show in question. It was brave then to stage a show comprising four episodes of this beloved sitcom – but it proved an excellent choice because GOLDEN GIRLS at the Masque Theatre is superb.

The most important factor in staging this production was always going to be the casting of the four protagonists, which is make or break. Would there be actresses who could do Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia? I am elated to answer in the affirmative: Director Wayne Ronné’s casting is perfect, and he must be congratulated on the excellent selection of his leading ladies.   

Review: GOLDEN GIRLS at Masque Theatre Is a Hilarious and Moving Tribute to the Classic TV Show

All four “golden girls” are fantastic. Katherine Filmore as Rose is absolutely adorable. She nails Rose’s naivete without being over the top and without playing for laughs – and yet she is hilarious! Filmore  is a natural onstage despite the fact that, I was shocked to hear, is her very first time acting – this makes her performance all the more impressive. She was one of my favourites; her Rose is endearing, earnest and believable.

Tanya Smith as Blanche is a lovely choice as well. I really enjoyed her take on the sensual and expressive Blanche. While I have seen Smith in various productions, this is the first time I have watched her in a ‘straight’ play as opposed to a musical – I really liked the opportunity to observe her acting in this setting; she did a great job of playing bringing this vivacious character to life. I hope to see her in more plays, especially comedies, as she has good comedic timing.

A better match for Dorothy could surely not be found: Gwendolen Ward had the character’s mannerisms, vocal tone, expressions, and all round “Dorothy-quality” down pat. Her dry delivery is hilarious, and she found a great balance between articulating the character’s defensive exterior versus the softness that lies beneath. I also loved her mother daughter dynamic with Sophia.

And speaking of Sophia… what can I say of Kerith Coulson who embodies this octogenarian? I have been treated to Coulson’s comedic talents in the past, but this is her best. Her classic, deadpan one-liner deliveries and put-downs had me in stitches every time. Everything from the way that she clasps her little handbag, even while inside the house to the unimpressed glances she throws at the other characters made me cackle. Her Sicilian accent is perfect and her physicality in her characterisation remains excellent throughout– she is Sophia.

Review: GOLDEN GIRLS at Masque Theatre Is a Hilarious and Moving Tribute to the Classic TV Show

That being said, the actresses do not provide cheap copies of the characters – they manage to make them their own while maintaining the integral characteristics of each golden girl. The four have lovely chemistry and while there’s a lot of humour and more than a laugh a minute, there are some really tender, wholesome moments that tug at the heartstrings. Ronné’s chose one episode from season one, another from season two and two from season four, so we get a nice range of the respective characters’ journeys.

I must also give a shout-out to Brendon Alexander who delivers a brilliant performance as Lucas. His characterisation is charming and we root for him as soon as he enters his first scene.

The one criticism I have with the show is that sometimes lines were lost  – the cast members must ensure that they adequately project and enunciate so that they do not swallow any of their hilarious words.

Review: GOLDEN GIRLS at Masque Theatre Is a Hilarious and Moving Tribute to the Classic TV Show

Ronné has employed a clever way to get around awkward scene changes: there are two narrators, Lisa Fontaine-Rainen and Bridget-ann Mullins who break the fourth wall to entertain the audience with trivia surrounding the show. This is also an effective way to link the different episodes within the production. While these segments work well on the whole, sometimes they are a bit long and the pacing dips a little.

It is evident that everyone in this show is having so much fun and Ronné must be given kudos for his strong direction and for his delightful take on a comedy that has aged like fine wine. In fact, while we’re talking ‘aging’, the ultimate message of this show is perfectly summarised by one of the narrators when she aptly states: “Getting older doesn’t mean losing your spark. It just means more character development.”

GOLDEN GIRLS runs at the Masque Theatre from 24 May to 8 June 2024. On account of audience demand, the show has added additional shows (7 and 8 June). Tickets for May are nearly sold out so book while you can. Tickets are available via Quicket and cost R120.


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