Cheese and Cheesecake in Hell in a Handbag’s Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes

Rose, Sophia, Dorothy and Blanche enjoy each other's company on the lanai Fresh off receiving a Non-Equity Special Jeff Award for theatrical and charitable contributions, Hell in a Handbag co-founder and Artistic Director David Cerda presents Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes, his latest drag parody, creating “lost episodes” of the Emmy-winning, 1985-1992 series. Amidst “the smell of Jean Nate and Depends,” Cerda is Dorothy, originally played by Bea Arthur; Ed Jones is ditzy St. Olaf native Rose (Betty White on TV); AJ Wright is sex-obsessed Blanche (Rue McClanahan), “a free spirit, the polite form of slut;” and Adrian Hadlock nails Dorothy’s diminutive mom Sophia, perfecting mimicking Estelle Getty’s nasality and eye rolling behind big glasses, clutching her signature woven purse and calling her daughter pussycat (and the younger ladies are still trying to commit her to “a state-run retirement village”). After the audience participates in a “Thank You For Being A Friend” show theme sing-a-long, the nine-person ensemble fills in the rest on the small Mary’s Attic stage-cum Miami lanai, teasing out complete storylines from relatives (memorably Rose’s hyper “fiercely independent blind sister Lily”) and issues briefly mentioned in real episodes. Apparently Cerda really has restless legs syndrome, so he channels that malady into a Rose storyline including too much caffeine and a dance contest. The two-act show is predicated on cheesecake-fueled flashbacks, including Esquivel-scored orgies and other sexual indulgences, like The Pewter Intruder butt plug, and observations like “it’s not gay if we don’t kiss.” They also observe “it’s not racist because it’s 1991.” Those who love the show will recognize the tropes. Those who love the '80s will appreciate the references to the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, starring Barbara Eden and Erik Estrada in Sweet Bird of Youth. Those who love libations can get a VIP ticket and enjoy a cocktail at the full-service bar. The next show, the first in HIAH’s 15th season, will be Bewildered, a bewitching story told from neighbor Gladys Kravitz’s point-of-view. Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes has been extended through September 16 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. Tickets and info are available at 800-838-3006.
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Karin McKie

Karin McKie is a Chicago freelance writer, cultural factotum and activism concierge. She jams econo.