Review "TROGG! A Musical: Cerda-fiable, Fun-loving, Kitschy Comedy!

Audio Podcast at ITUNES 
Narrated by Joshua Volkers

Hell in a Handbag Productions presentsIMG_0486.jpg

TROGG! A Musical
At Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division
Books and lyrics by David Cerda with Cheryl Snodgrass and Taylor E. Rodd
Music by David Cerda and Taylor E. Ross
Directed by Scott Ferguson
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru July 3rd 
Running Time:  Two hours includes an intermission 
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Kids, bikinis, and rock & roll!  It’s 1967!  Life is one big beach party.  It’s all fun in the sun until a cave monster crashes the sandy bash.  Time to bring in the big guns. This is a job for… Joan Crawford!?  Hell in a Handbag Productions presents the world premiere of TROGG! A Musical.  An oceanside town panics when a Neanderthal emerges from a cave. Luckily, Sunset Cove houses a resident expert on troglodytes.  Arriving to save the day, Dr. Joan Cannon stuns with her tranquilizer gun and chic outfit.  Is it too late? Does she still have time to tame the beast, repair her mother-daughter estrangement, AND fight the village’s escalating terror?   It’s a little “Gidget“, little “Encino Man” and a lot of “Mommie Dearest.”  Just in time for summer, TROGG! A Musical is a Cerda-fiable, fun-loving, kitschy comedy!
Playwright David Cerda unveils his latest Joan Crawford tribute.  Cerda & Company loosely base it on Joan Crawford’s movie “Trog.” They keep the anthropologist-rescues-a-caveman scenario but spoof it up with cliched Frankie and Annette films from the sixties.  The high-energy, groovy songs prompt peppy, happy dancing.  It’s a flashback to simpler times when kids rebelled by listening to rock music and necking.  The ensemble terrifically exaggerate the 1960’s film caricatures.  Elizabeth Lesinski (Barbara) belts out tunes as the pouty ignored daughter of a famous scientist.  Lesinski amuses trying to connect to her mother, the caveman and the boy-next-door.  Her sidekick, Alex Grelle (Peanut) is HILARIOUS!  After playing the hysterical Shelly Duvall in the last Cerda show, Grelle is scene-stealing competition for Handbag regular Ed Jones (Carol Ann).  Grelle and Jones are the funniest drag queens EVER!  EVER!  Without even saying anything, their mere presence on stage is gut-busting, thigh slapping, girdle tugging, laugh-out-loudER comedy.  Cerda adds in his own humor as Joan Crawford reincarnated.  Cerda deadpans lunatic directives to punch out the comedy in drama.  
The entire ensemble is vanilla swirl dipped in butterscotch rolled in sprinkles. They are a tasty  summertime sweet treat. With direction by Scott Ferguson, choreography by Kristen Smiley, costumes by Kate Setzer Kamphausen, wigs by BC Kalz, TROGG! is a big bright beach ball!  Its playful. It bounces. Sometimes it gets whacked out of bounds but then somebody kicks it back in the game.   Tightening TROGG! up will just add to years of pleasurable fun times.  This caveman could use a little off-the-top without losing the over-the-top parody.   Regardless, TROGG! is already a perky day at the beach with effervescent music, funny friends and a hot hairy guy.       
Out celebrating James’ birthday, my gang describes the show with James: ‘rocks and rolls’, Bill: ‘nice package, Rex!’, Dick: ‘Trogg-Le-Delight’, Shawn: ‘super gay romp’, Cridlin: ‘laughed at times’, Jen: ‘campy, colorful, & comical’ and Roger: ‘I am Peanut!’ 

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