For anyone who grew up in the ‘80s, The Golden Girls was classic TV viewing gold. Now the silver-haired Miami housemates have been brought back to life in the form of puppets for new tribute show Thank You For Being A Friend.
In an intimate home set as kitsch as the original TV studio, life-sized puppets – the perfect cartoon-esque representations of their human counterparts – and their actors sit alongside each other on the stage as they play out a series of hilarious story lines.
The fact that the actors are visible on stage takes a bit of getting used to, but the people chosen to play each character have been perfectly cast, from the deep-voiced Dorothy played by male actor Darren Mapes, to the sharp-as-a-razor Sophia, played by Donna Lee. With the puppets being fairly static, what really brings the characters to life is the facial expressions, movements and life-like accents of the actors, particularly Blanche’s pouting lips and southern belle twang, beautifully executed by actor Chrystal de Grussa, and Rose’s ditsy charm, played by Julia Billington.
The show’s storyline revisits the witty banter and taboo jokes of the original cast, but with a modern twist. It touches on issues including Blanche’s gay son, Jeremiah, having a baby with a Chinese surrogate from the internet, Emilio the dance teacher who is using Sophia for a green card, and Blanche writing her own version of Fifty Shades of Grey. As in the original TV production, the show is broken up into four scenes with hilariously daggy 1980’s TV ads playing in each interval.
All in all, the show is a light-hearted, fun night out and a great chance to re-live the best of 1980’s television.
Thank You For Being A Friend is playing at the Seymour Centre until 28 February.