Elizabeth Bell, Elizabeth Whitney, Jamie Heinlein, Virginia Baeta and Karen Stanion in The Secretaries.
BOTTOM LINE: The Secretaries succeeds in reviving the murder, mayhem, and mirth of The Five Lesbian Brothers' classic dark satire.
At the Lucille Lortel, TOSOS resurrects a hilarious revival of the Five Lesbian Brothers' classic, The Secretaries. Originally produced in 1994, this new production gives New York audiences a second chance to enjoy every chuckle and chainsaw killing again.
A brief plot summary from the TOSOS website: "Set in the mill town of Big Bone, Oregon, The Secretaries follows the lives of five women who work in the office of Cooney Lumber, where every 30 days…well something involving chainsaws and lumberjacks happens. And it’s not pretty."
The show is well cast with a balanced ensemble of comediennes who are able to shoot their jokes to the back of the house. Plump Peaches, Dawn the Lesbian, Ashley the Bitch, Susan the Boss, and new wonder girl Patty are played with the right amount of camp, the right amount of heart, and total hilarity.
The lighting is dynamic, with inventive specials and lots of mood, and the vibrant costumes are a love note to the period. The music overkills on Madonna, though. I'd bet the show's score consists of 80% Madonna singles, and they don't really add much or make sense. Still, the only truly awkward element to the performance comes when the characters pantomime their activities, some set pieces we can't see, and the coffee in their cups. The set and props are there, so it's silly to expect the audience to imagine a few random items.
Nonetheless, The Secretaries is a well-done, vibrant revamping of the brilliance of The Five Lesbian Brothers. Crack open your Slimfast and enjoy bulimia jokes, used tampons and a messy condom, and interoffice rivalry with a murderous edge!
(The Secretaries plays at Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street between Bleecker and Hudson, through August 29th. Remaining performances are Thursday, August 26th at 2:15pm and Sunday, August 29th at Noon. For more information visit www.thesecretariestosos.com. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue . There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)