Review: The Golden Girls–The Lost Episodes (Hell in a Handbag Productions)

| June 30, 2017

David Cerda, Adrian Hadlock, AJ Wright and Ed Jones star in Golden Girls            


The Golden Girls:      
  The Lost Episodes

Written by David Cerda
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark (map)
thru Sept 16  |  tix: $16-$20  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   


Now extended thru September 16th

 The perfect summer parody romp


AJ Wright, Ed Jones, David Cerda and Adrian Hadlock star in The Golden Girls

Hell in a Handbag Productions presents
The Golden Girls – The Lost Episodes

Review by Lauren Whalen

I grew up on “The Golden Girls,” watching episodes every Saturday night on my grandmother’s million-pound box of a television. Sitting in the audience of Hell in a Handbag Productions’ The Golden Girls – The Lost Episodes, I recalled learning where Sicily was via Sophia Petrillo, while a friend remembered his early affinity for Blanche’s Southern-fried campiness (even though the sex jokes went right over his young head). With sharp writing, smart comedy and plenty of female empowerment to go around, “The Golden Girls” was ahead of its time, a sitcom for the ages that is still hilarious today. Hell in a Handbag’s loving parody of everyone’s favorite Florida quartet is a winning blend of satire and silliness, a summer excursion that’s pure fun.

AJ Wright, Adrian Hadlock, David Cerda, Ed Jones, Terry McCarthy and Michael S. MillerWritten by Handbag co-founder and Artistic Director David Cerda (who also plays a spot-on Dorothy Zbornak), The Golden Girls–The Lost Episodes takes the form of a clip show. Dorothy’s considering committing her smart-aleck mother Sophia (Adrian Hadlock) yet again, and she, libertine Blanche (AJ Wright) and naïve Rose (Ed Jones) sit around reminiscing about wacky adventures over cheesecake. In one vignette, the girls act as troop leaders for the Sunshine Cadets and run afoul of a bear; in another, Rose can’t wait to get the other three out of the house so she can gain entry to a very exclusive club. Various cameos ensue, including evil girl-next-door Daisy (Kristopher Bottrall), pediatrician-with-his-own-spinoff Harry (Michael Miller) and of course, Dorothy’s loser ex-husband Stan (Lori Lee).

With its intimate quarters and built-in bar, Mary’s Attic is the perfect setting for this Golden Girls, and director Shade Murray maximizes the small space with creative staging and choreography. Cerda’s script is hilarious, never missing an opportunity to poke fun at the sitcom tropes (at one point, the characters freeze and mutter to each other “where’s the commercial?”) while still preserving everything that made “The Golden Girls” such a hit. Blanche likes to sleep around, Rose fondly recalls St. Olaf, and stroke survivor Sophia constantly pokes fun at her beleaguered daughter Dorothy, who retaliates by threatening to send her mother back to Shady Pines retirement home. Both Murray and stage manager Michelle Kidd keep the action moving, and sound designer Tim McNulty has some truly inspired cues that add to the production’s wacky ambiance. There are a few minor hiccups – at certain points the actors don’t seem sure of their lines, nor do they always know when to pause for laughter – but these are sure to smooth out as the summer run continues.

AJ Wright, Michael S. Miller and Ed Jones star in Golden Girls, Hell in HandbagDavid Cerda, Adrian Hadlock, AJ Wright and Ed Jones star in Golden GirlsAdrian Hadlock, David Cerda, Chazie Bly, Ed Jones and Lori Lee star in Golden Girls

The cast is comprised mostly of Handbag company members, who work well together and share their fondness for the show with the audience. Though Jones doesn’t resemble Betty White in voice or mannerisms, his Rose is so delightfully silly that it doesn’t matter. Wright swans around with a grace that would make Rue McClanahan proud, and Cerda brings Bea Arthur’s rough charm and dry wit to every one of Dorothy’s lines. Hadlock is the standout of the excellent foursome: a dead ringer for Estelle Getty, with impeccable comic timing.

Luckily extended through the end of August, The Golden Girls–The Lost Episodes is not one to be missed. In its 15th season, Hell in a Handbag Productions has mastered the art of parody and the way to the hearts of audience members nostalgic for shoulder pads, pastels and the lanai (whatever that is). The Golden Girls–The Lost Episodes had me giggling from beginning to end, fondly remembering those Saturday nights in front of my grandma’s TV.

Rating: ★★★½

The Golden Girls – The Lost Episodes continues through July 12th September 16th at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark (map), with performances Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm (with Friday and Saturday performances added in September).  Tickets are $16-$20, and are available online through (check for availability of half-price tickets). More information at time: 90 minutes, includes an intermission)

Ed Jones, David Cerda, Adrian Hadlock, AJ Wright, Grant Drager, Terry McCarthy, Michael S. Miller, Lori Lee,

Photos by Rick Aguilar Studios




David Cerda (Dorothy), Adrian Hadlock (Sophia), Ed Jones (Rose), AJ Wright (Blanche), Chazie Bly (Lilly, Susan, Ann), Kristopher Bottrall (Daisy, Harriet, Trivia Presenter), Grant Drager (Rebecca, Annabelle, Candy), Lori Lee (Stan), David Lipschutz (George, Announcer, Miles, Michael, Kid Pepe), Terry McCarthy (DJ, June Allyson, Frieda, Truvy), Michael Miller (Bear, Doctor, Harry, Clayton), Robert Williams (Lorraine, Tiffany, Joanne, Evelyn)

behind the scenes

Shade Murray (director), Michelle Kidd (stage manager), Myron Elliott (costume design), Roger Wykes (scenic design), Tim McNulty (sound design), Cat Wilson (lighting design), Keith Ryan (wig design), Sydney Genco (makeup consultant), Mealah Heidenreich (prop design), Rachel Summerfield (prop assistant), Michael S. Miller (art director, graphic design), Caitlin Jackson (program design), Rick Aguilar Studios (photography), Danni Quider (box office manager), David Cerda (artistic director, executive producer)


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Category: 2017 Reviews, Extensions-Remounts, Hell in a Handbag, Lauren Whalen, Mary's Attic, Parody

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