Home / Comedy / Locked Up Bitches – The Flea, New York
[Locked Up Bitches] [The Flea, NYC] (c)Hunter Canning

Locked Up Bitches – The Flea, New York

Book: Catya McMullen

Music: Scott Allen Klopfenstein, Kerry Blu

Choreographer: Michael Raine

Director: Michael Raine

Reviewer: Robert Price

“Are you a Bitch or a Pussy?” Before entering the theatre, patrons must answer this question, and be thus adorned in felt ears. The Flea’s production value for Locked Up Bitches is initially astounding. Some twenty-five actors flood the lobby in the beige jumpsuits of Orange Is The New Black with puppy and kitty noses painted on their faces. Designer Yu-Hsuan Chen has adorned the space with veterinary signage and built a dog pound on stage. The cast behaves in character for another ten minutes, as the audience is seated, demonstrating their social alliances in the “prison yard.” Much like the Netflix show upon which Locked Up Bitches is based, the number of unique characters played by women and people of color is refreshing. An alarm sounds and all of the dogs and cats stand in their role call lines while the pre-show announcements are made. The actor playing Pubestache, Alex Haynes, plays drill sergeant, declaring that The Flea is having a season of women. The music starts, and the cast begins singing, dancing and rapping.

It is worth noting that this show originated as a serial of ten-minute plays written for a weekly competition show that included a free drink with admission. Without this knowledge, fans of Scott Allen Klopfenstein’s work in The Reel Big Fish or The Littlest Man Band might be underwhelmed by his musical contribution. The music appears to be instrumental tracks from other songs (Dream On, Big Poppa, Apache) with parody lyrics and over-written raps. The music-to-microphone situation is not optimized for intelligibility, especially for the quicker, more ambitious verses. The script is more like binge watching a recurring MADtv sketch than a musical. The commitment to character from the performers is intoxicating. The script’s strengths lie in its riffs on the plot of the television show it spoofs. Michael Raine’s choreography is a spectacle worth seeing, augmented by Jonathan Cottle’s lighting design with an amazing setup. 

About half of the rapping works, and there is impressive vocal harmony. Katherine George as Yummy would win best rapper of the cast but she’s featured all too briefly. Tamara Williams and Juan “Skittlez” Ortiz have the right kind of rhythm to run the chorus. Xavier Velasquez vogues like a dream as Pouty Bitch. Bre Northrup and Ryan Wesley Stinnett rap as well as one would as a cat supremacist and a Russian bulldog. Emma Orme’s campy lead white lady was divine against Charly Dannis’ flawless impression of Laura Prepon.

This show is goofy stupid fun for fans of Orange Is The New Black. It is rife with innuendo, women kissing women, and Alex Haynes spends a scene in a speedo for little to no good reason. Do you want to see Lacy Allen fondle herself in a goatee? Do you want to see Marcus Jones speak in beat box with an amp duct-taped to his back? See Locked Up Bitches, so you can tell people that you did.

Runs until 28 April, 2018 | Image: Hunter Canning

Book: Catya McMullen Music: Scott Allen Klopfenstein, Kerry Blu Choreographer: Michael Raine Director: Michael Raine Reviewer: Robert Price “Are you a Bitch or a Pussy?” Before entering the theatre, patrons must answer this question, and be thus adorned in felt ears. The Flea’s production value for Locked Up Bitches is initially astounding. Some twenty-five actors flood the lobby in the beige jumpsuits of Orange Is The New Black with puppy and kitty noses painted on their faces. Designer Yu-Hsuan Chen has adorned the space with veterinary signage and built a dog pound on stage. The cast behaves in character for another…

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