The perennial jesters in the Running With Scissors troupe specialize in campy spoofs. The form is tailor-made for send-ups of melodramas like Mommie Dearest. Recently, the troupe undertook the difficult mission of spoofing a comedy — recasting The Golden Girls using actual scripts from the TV series.
The Golden Girls are four aging friends who live in a ranch-style house in Miami. Blanche Devereaux (Ricky Graham) owns the home. Dorothy (Heklina) and Rose (Brian Peterson) rent rooms from her. Their quarters are further cramped by Dorothy's mother, Sophia Petrillo (Cookie Dough), after the retirement home where she was living burns down.
Despite the small and excellent cast, keeping track of who was who sometimes got tricky, although fans of the TV series probably had little trouble following the plot. Most of the action takes place around the kitchen table or the white wicker armchairs in the living room. Short comic scenes are separated by long stretches of blackout, during which the audience is treated to period commercials for things like Hawaiian Punch and Sheer Energy support pantyhose. With their catchy jingles, the ads add a note of nostalgia, but half as many would suffice.
Dorothy lands a job as the associate producer of "Wake Up Miami," a live TV talk show, and she enlists her friends as guests on the show.
The show's vivacious announcer (Dorian Rush) introduces the guests as a pair of lesbians. When there's a call for questions from the studio audience, Sophia (Dorothy's mother) asks: "What kind of embarrassment does your lifestyle cause your mother?" The question and its implication are typical of the moments that lift the show above its mundane premise.
Mr. Gordon (Roland "Butch" Caire), a high school teacher on whom Dorothy had a crush long ago, shows up and with sweet talks her into helping him write a book review. When it comes out, however, her name is not included in the byline even though every word is hers.
Eddie (Jack Lang) is a nerdy but irresistible suitor. In the end, even the nonagenarian Sophia sheds her dress and leaps on him.
Running with Scissors is always a crowd-pleaser. The Golden Girls, despite minor flaws in the staging, was no exception. The house at Southern Rep was full and the laughter plentiful. — Dalt Wonk