16 January 2014

MIDSUMMA: Thank you for being a friend

MIDSUMMA 2014
Thank you for being a friend
Matthew Management and Neil Gooding
9 January 2014
Theatre Works
to 18 January
theatreworks.org.au



Thank you for being a friend is a loving tribute to the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls performed with puppets. If you're already singing the theme song and getting your box set off the DVD shelf, you know you have to see this.

If you haven't seen the show, you probably won't get it and it'll help to see a couple of episodes if you're going on a Midsumma date. If you think it's a boring show about old ladies, know that it was written by the guy who wrote Arrested Development. And if you love Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan, you must find the 70s sitcom Maude (made in a time when women in their 40s were allowed to have grey hair, wear baggy clothes and still have a lot of sex).

But back to the theatre. With a criss-cross cane lounge, a lanai and a cheesecake, the design instantly feels like we're in a TV studio for a live recording and it takes less than a blink to accept the puppets and their character-perfect actors as Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia.

And, even with some updates like  mobile phones and Blanche's discovery of 50 Shades of Grey and mobile phones, it feels like a new (if much longer) episode – complete with TV adds from the 1980s that tempted pockets of the audience to sing along. In this episode, one of Blanche's sons is having a child with a surrogate and everyone except Blanche accepts that he's gay, and there's a mix up on date night.

It may not question anything new but grasps everything that made The Golden Girls so popular, from Dorothy's resemblance to a drag queen to Rose's St Olaf stories, Blache's posing and Sophia's bitchy one liners and its willingness to discuss important social issues under the guise of sweet ladies chatting over cheesecake.

And, of course, you can walk up Acland Street for cheesecake and a chat after the show.

This was on AussieTheatre.com.


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