American Treacle is trying to fool the audience into thinking it's a play about two international pseudo-celebrities, Bridgeet Lolalolalo and Shasha, who host an American Idol-style reality show. It's actually a musical sketch-comedy show with a clever gimmick for holding its sketches together. Each sketch is performed by a different Contestant, who're all trying to win the coveted "naked man with no genitals" award. It's a fairly original way to provide continuity to a sketch show.
With their outrrrageous accents and gaudy cocktail dresses, Bridgeet (Bricken Sparacino) and Shasha (Deb Rabbai) seemed to have walked right off the set of Sabado Gigante, and the duo were rather funny in small doses, but the real fun of this show came from the sketches and songs. Despite spending a little too much time with Bridgeet and Shasha, American Treacle squeezes eight musical numbers and a commercial parody into its short running time (about 50 minutes) and gets in a few potshots at Spam-eating former Playboy Playmates too.
Every one of the sketches is a hit, particularly one about a doctor (Eric Chercover) who must tell a man that his 50-pound newborn is "full-a-lead," but there was also "The Carpal Tunnel Blues" and a song about a "Tiny Man" who lives in Michael Birch's head and tells him to drop his pants and run around like a duck. There was also a "Spice Girls" parody, an eating-disorder song ("What I Did For Food" to the tune of "What I did for Love"), and the hillbilly equivalent of the von Trapp Family Singers. Sadly, the best material was used in the first half of the show and the less hysterical moments were placed at the end. Not that the second half of the show wasn't funny, but saving "There is a Tiny Man Who Lives In My Head" for last would have made for a much stronger ending.
The seven members of the cast each played up to five roles, and the show sometimes relied on recorded dialogue from offstage to cover costume changes. Numerous wigs and costume changes lent a fair amount of believabillity to the multiple roles (including rampant campy transgenderism), but the best outfits were always saved for Bridgeet and Shasha, who even had the cojones to parade around in feathered bikinis.
The stage was mostly barren, except for the fact that the upstage area had the coveted "naked man with no genitals" award on display. But with so much action on the tiny stage, any substantial set would have gotten in the way.
Bridgeet (AKA Bricken Sparacino) wrote and directed the show and gave a bit of unwarranted favoritism to the Bridgeet and Shasha characters. Shasha did little more than preen while saying "Sha-SHA" and Bridgeet didn't do much of anything. The characters were amusing and had the makings of a good couple of sketches in them, but they weren't deep enough or interesting enough to base a whole show on (yet). Fortunately everything else was fall-out-of-your-chair-laughing funny.
(Also featuring Elizabeth Furtado, Gretchen Greaser, and Larry Rogowsky)
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Copyright 2003 Charles Battersby