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  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW The Drag Seed
by Eric Karas
2019-07-15

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Author: David Cerda

Directed by: Cheryl Snodgrass. At: Mary's Attic, 5400 N. Clark St. Tickets: : $20-44; BrownPaperTickets.com . Runs through: Aug. 24

Hell in a Handbag is presenting The Drag Seed, by David Cerda. This is the company's take on the suspense classic film The Bad Seed—but you don't have to have seen that film to enjoy the parody.

The original book/film is about a girl with an evil side; however, this being Handbag, that is transformed into a tale about a little drag queen with an evil side. All this child wants is to be on RuPaul's Drag Race and be the top talent at school. Unfortunately, a little drag-queen folk singer stands in the way of them and their crown ( to use the chacracter's pronouns ). They must get it!

Handbag favorite Ed Jones plays the long- suffering Mother, and he is consistently funny with his overdramatic line readings as well as several dramatic poses and facial expressions. Kristopher Bottrall, as demonic child Carson, has the part down perfectly, exhibiting over-the-top camp mixed with selfish brattiness.

David Cerda plays the sympathetic Miss Charles, an aging drag queen who delights in the antics of young Carson. Cerda creates a sympathetic character along with his usual barbed humor. Kelly Anchors does such a good job with two overblown stereotypes—the crazy gritty lesbian maintenance woman and the granola-crunchy school matron—that I honestly didn't know it was the same actress. The real surprise is that halfway through the show Elizabeth Lesinski shows up as a drunk, grieving mother and walks away with the show. She is so hilarious—and that is no easy feat on a stage with Jones.

The show brings Handbag back to the roots of parodying classic cinema after its popular segway into Golden Girl parodies—and it lovingly satires the source material while creating its own LGBT world. There are many wonderfully funny one-liners from the cast, which has the comic timing to deliver them. The undercurrent of the play is a satire of the current generational divide between older and younger LGBT people.

Even though the production seemed a bit long for a Handbag show, it's worth the insane journey.


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