Thursday, April 5, 2007

Review - The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode

Stage Buzz Review by Byrne Harrison

You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and there you have . . . Jamie Morris’s wildly absurd The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode. In this episode, entitled “The Best Little Whorehouse in Peekskill,” Mrs. Garrett and the girls are faced with the prospect of losing their dorm to development, the elimination of Mrs. Garrett’s job, and the Starbucks-driven closing of Edna’s Edibles unless they can come up with enough money to save the day. They do what any good boarding school girls would do . . . open a brothel.

Morris’s send up of this bewilderingly popular show (it ran nine seasons according to IMDB) hits all the expected marks – Tootie’s skates, Natalie’s constant grinning through her lines, Mrs. Garrett’s cries of “Girls! Girls!” It also stakes out some new territory – taking Jo and Blair’s love/hate relationship and accentuating the love portion. Woven in are some amusingly rewritten songs from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, some lines and images that would shock a sailor and will promptly get lodged in your brain forever, and a visit from Blair’s cousin Geri that led one audience member to loudly exclaim, “Oh no, they are NOT going there!”

Yes, they are. And it’s damn funny.

The five actors in the show all do a remarkable job of creatively parodying their TV characters. It is Brooks Braselman, who plays Natalie and several other minor characters, however, who steals the show. Not only is his Natalie spot on, but he is such a dynamo that he seems to vibrate with energy every time he’s on stage. Jamie Morris, playing a sex-crazed Mrs. Garrett, keeps up with him and always looks like he’s having the time of his life. In fact, that seems to be case with all the actors – they look like they’re having a blast.

The show is not without its slow moments, and there are a fair number of jokes that fall flatter than Mrs. Garrett’s flapjacks, but the laughs easily outnumber the groans. My suggestion is to get there a little early, grab a drink upstairs at the KGB Bar, and reminisce about some of your favorite episodes. Then grab a seat and try to keep up with the actors. Be prepared for a wild, raunchy, crazy time.

Written by Jamie Morris
Parody lyrics by Brooks Braselman and Jamie Morris
Directed by Christopher Kenney
Set Design by Michael Lee Scott
Musical Arrangements by Hank Bones

Featuring Brooks Braselman (Natalie), Christopher Kenney (Blair), Charlie Logan (Jo), Jamie Morris (Mrs. Garrett), and Jaquay Thomas (Tootie)

Kraine Theater
85 E. 4th Street

Tickets: or 212-352-3101