The "Reel Blondes" franchise created by Vicki Brooks has always been the go-to place for big laughs, silly sketches, hilarious costumes and an insanely talented cast that seems to live by the old musical comedy adage, "bigger, faster, funnier."
This year's show, "Back to the Roots," is all that, along with being considerably more adventurous by traveling some new roads of comedy and, overall, exhibiting a musical craziness that goes well beyond the zaniness audiences have come to expect.
And, this time, it has a time machine -- the device that will save Blondie's (Peggy Stratton) salon from being left in the dust by the mega-rich Dante (Min Kahng), who has opened his salon just across the street. Essentially, it's High Noon on Hartz Avenue as Blondie and Dante enter a pitched battle for hair-care supremacy in Danville.
Almost immediately, Dante goes nuclear, turning his salon into something that more resembles a theme park, stealing Blondie's regulars and giving her a lot of free time to plot revenge with her handyman (director Jeff Seaberg in a role he makes hilarious) and Fabio (a very funny Daniel Santero), a flamboyant hair stylist who goes to spy on Dante's and returns in full roller-disco drag for the big disco number. Like most of the production numbers (including many with the cast dressed like consumer products) it seems to be a non sequitur, but somehow makes sense in the crazy world of Blondie.
An example is the time machine, which the Handyman assembles, despite the fact it came from IKEA and the directions are in Swedish. It prompts visits from Lisbeth Salander (heroin of the "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo") , and later, the members of ABBA.
The gags spin out at an increasingly speedy pace, with spoofs on Depends disposable underwear and Ambien (featuring Snow White singing "Waking up Is Hard to do") topping the crowded list
One of the funniest and most complex bits is a video/live action vignette featuring Paul Wujek detailing the relationship between a woman and an avocado. Titled, "Avocado," the piece parodies the tune "Desperado" to tell the story of the fatal attraction between the woman and her sombrero-wearing 'cado.It doesn't end well.
"Reel Blondes" works because of the sharp writing and a tremendous cast of triple-threat (singing, dancing, acting) performers, who completely buy in to the zany material and make it hilarious. That includes those mentioned above, as well as Nick Quintell, Donna Turner, Morgan Breedveld, Rebecca LaFleur, Savannah Stratton and Mike Doyle, who has served as Danville's mayor and member of the town council, and makes an extremely brief appearance in the show.
Contact Pat Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
'REEL BLONDES: BACK TO THE ROOTS'
By Jeff Seaberg, Paula Wujek, Bob Stratton and cast
Through: March 9
Where: Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville
Running time: 1 hours, 30 minutes
Tickets: $35, 925-314-3400, 925-736-2858 or www.victoriasreelblondes.com.