The Real Live Brady Bunch
Directed by Jason Newkirk
Starring Tabitha Rox, Tyler Conrady
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL
Sometime you’ll run into and old TV show of which you have fond memories. And when you see that old chestnut, you first thought, often as not, is “Boy, was THAT a dumb show.” The Brady Bunch is in that camp, but on stage it can take on superb camp value. Tonight someone (perhaps the enigmatic Karen Hill?) transcribed three episodes into a 90 minute show which ranges from very silly to extremely super silly. Here’s the show’s premise – a man with three children marries a woman with three children and they can afford a maid. When these children came from exactly is never discussed, the concept of remarriage was very racy for TV execs of the day and for all we know the missing mates ran off with each other or were killed in a weird love triangle. But the kids all basically get along and have improbable adventures that each take exactly 23 minutes to set up and resolve, allowing time for ads and a few “Station Identifications”.
In the first episode, the eldest Marcia (Adriana Milbrath) find a “Dear Libby” column that convinces them mom and dad are about to split, leaving the children unloved. Mother Carol (Rox) drinks endless cups of Valium laced coffee and never seems to get upset, while Father Peter (Conrady) looks like Jack Nicholson about to chop through a door, but never follows through on this promising plot line. It takes two commercial breaks before anyone ASKS mom or dad but then Libby (Jeff Hole) show up in drag to reassure them that this sort of break up could only happen in Ohio.
Before the next episode, Bobby Brady (Jason Newkirk) powders over his 5 o’clock shadow and conducts a quick Brady Bunch trivia game. Since neither unwitting contestant knew beans about the show this wasn’t terribly exciting. So we moved right into Episode 2: here Jan (Alexandra Milbrath) loses a boy friend to Marcie who actually has boobs. Everyone fuses over the problem, except Marcie who fans the fire until its time for the credits. Sisters – can’t kill them, and can’t steal their looks.
The third episode is the best, it’s called”Amateur Hour” and the kids need to raise money to pay for an anniversary gift. Their only real option is an amateur hour run by superannuated hippy Jeff Hole, but they pull off a decent high energy Beach Boys’ pop number with about 5 minutes of rehearsal. While they don’t win the money, everything turns out just like you’d wish with mom and dad blissfully unaware and Alice (Jennifer Bennett) aiding and abetting.
While I can’t say much for the plot, this production never took itself seriously, and everyone did their best to camp it up. Whenever a sex joke could be inferred, it was paraded up and down and made to work. I either never watched this show, or blanked it out, but yeah, the Brady Bunch is very dumb very funny and filled with unquenchable energy.
For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com