June gloom is here, but no worries, Hollywood Fringe Festival will help brighten your day! Every year theater folk crawl out of the wood work to bring us their newest, weirdest, funniest, darkest and quirkiest creations. This season is no different, playing at Hollywood’s Theatre Asylum is the new and creative work The Real Housekeepers of Studio City. Set in a fictional version of Studio City where TV characters are real, where the struggling divorcee’ of “Friends” character Joey Tribbiani, Ashley (Lani Shipman) tries to make her own way. This spirited one-act musical combines catchy songs, a fun cast and a rather outrageous plot.
With book and lyrics by Heidi Powers and Tom Moore and music by Joe Greene, even though The Real Housekeepers of Studio City will not be heading to Broadway anytime soon, it is a charming look at some of our favorite TV characters and sides of their personalities that we have never seen before. Ashley, with the help of her gay best friend Scot (Ryan O’Connor) begins to prepare for an interview to be on the TV show “The Real Housewives of Studio City”. But in order to do so, she needs a housekeeper, which she currently does not have. After her two teenage children Ethan (Daniel Switzer) and Olivia (Leigh Ann Smith) post an advertisement on Craigslist, a slew of our favorite TV housekeepers come barreling through the door.
Featuring the likes of Lurch (Matt Musgrove) from “The Addams Family” and Rosey the Robot (Gabby Sanalitro) from “The Jetsons”, who happen to be in an odd and somewhat disturbing sexual relationship with oneanother. Their relationship is not what is disturbing mind you, it’s their song “Better with Two”. It is cute at first, but the song is much too long and the jokes and their crude sexual gestures wear thin fast. However, the portrayals of the two actors of the beloved characters are very convincing. Yet, the most convincing portrayal/imitation has to go to Gina Torrecilla who plays the heartwarming Alice from “The Brady Bunch”. Torrecilla must have watched hours of the classic TV show, for her facial movements, gestures and voice are precise. She even has her down to the “oh well” heel raise, Alice always ended a sentence with. It is a performance that makes you smile, especially since her song “The Syndication of Your Mind” is probably one the best in the show.
Overall this oddball new musical has a lot charm but not a whole lot of substance. With a quirky plot and a very talented cast, what could be a complete disaster is actually quite pleasant and heartfelt. Though some numbers run long, and even with a short run time of 60 minutes, you do feel as if you spent a little too long at an awkward neighbor’s house party. However, these kind of shows are exactly what Fringe is about. Providing a stage and an audience to budding artists and their fresh creative work. So go take in at least one Fringe show and if you’re in the mood for something fun and different why not stop by “Studio City”.
The Real Housekeepers of Studio City plays at Theatre Asylum with limited showings until June 28th.