BWW Review: THE GOLDEN GIRLS at Roxy's Downtown
The Golden Girls
Roxy's Downtown Present's "The Golden Girls", a theatrical parody, showing now through March 18, 2018. The show is actually 4 separate episodes from the original television sitcom that ran on NBC from September 14, 1985, to May 9, 1992. However, in Roxy's show, the production is recreated live on stage. Complete with NBC peacock flashed up on the screen the effect is that of a live studio audience from the era, including period commercials, too. Under the direction of Tom Frye this production includes: Season 5, Episode 9 "Comedy of Errors" (1989); Season 2, Episode 4 "It's a Miserable Life" (1986); Season 1, Episode 10, "The Heart Attack" (1985), and Season 5, Episode 4, "Rose Fights Back" (1989). True to the original, there are four sassy seniors who share a party pad in Miami, where they banter about relationships, romance the local gentlemen, and share cheesecake in the kitchen.
All four of the main characters bring something unique to the original roles, and the same can be said of this production. Monte Riegel Wheeler as the cynical Dorothy Zbornak, Kyle Vespestad as sweet-but-stupid Rose, Scott Noah as sex bomb Blanche, and Tom Frye as the Sicilian avenging angel Sophia Petrillo. That's right, all four parts are played by men! However, within the first few minutes of the show, the actors play the original characters so perfectly that it seems the audience is transported back to the 1980's to an actual taping of the series.
Christine Tasheff (Costumes/Wigs) outfit's the troop with period accurate pieces that look as if they might have raided the closet from the original show. Set design and props, that fit perfectly onto the stage, pay homage to the look of the series. Several supporting roles are filled in each episode by Tracy Tuttle, Kelly Wonsetler, and Christine Tasheff.
Wheeler channels Bea Arthur's voice to the point that times it almost seems like he's possessed by her. His vocal inflections are spot on and the look from his eyes throw shade every direction. Vespestad comes across a bit gigglier than Betty White, but still possesses the innocent sweetness of her performance. Noah seems physically cut from the same cloth as Rue McClanahan as he swings his hips and provocatively oozes sexual overtone at a fevered pace. Tom Frye, like Estelle Getty, times each of his punchlines so well they hit the audience like an arrow in the center circle of a target. These four have the audience roaring with laughter and can barely keep it together onstage themselves. A few times, they stray from the original script with a few of their own enhancements, some funny...and some funnier. However, it's all good fun and showy performance spectacle at it's comedic best, flying purses and all. By the end of the show the audience is on their feet and feeling the love from these four as they say... "thank you for being a friend".
Images courtesy of Roxy's Downtown