Creator: Cissy Walken
Director: Llewellyn Sinclair
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
The phrase “niche fandom” gets tossed around often as of late. Nerd culture is having a moment, and one can be a nerd about nearly anything anymore. But when three types of nerddom intersect in a single production, that beyond earns a niche. In The Simsinz at the Laurie Beeechman Theatre, the trifecta of The Simpsons, drag, and musical theatre fandom ticks all the boxes while functioning outside of them.
The ensemble cast is clever, with nearly everyone playing at least two characters. There is a love of the source material and a specificity of the humor that carry the energy of this piece. Harkening to many favorite moments from the thirty-year-old animated series, one-liner references abound, including references to really everyone except Marge being gay. During lipsynced Broadway numbers, the audio is charmingly spliced with sound from episodes of the series to substitute Simpsons references and names in for portions of the song lyrics. The standout performance of the show is Andy Starling taking the stage as Ralph Wiggum in an adaptation of “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy that is one for the ages. Starling’s performance and wig (by Scott Feigr Curley) hearken in the direction of Liza Minelli, brimming with absurd charm.
This is a simple production in terms of tech. Sets are expressed using projections, and Feigr’s wigs work in tandem with costumes by Cissy Walken and Pierretta Viktori to create living versions of the animated family. The entire show is well-thought-out, and self-aware enough to dig into the high camp nature that is demanded by a Simpsons/drag/musical revue hybrid. The plot isn’t the most tightly constructed, but it has no need to be. Vignettes are tied together with a patchwork of dialogue from various Simpsons episodes, with the performers lipsyncing. This is clearly a cast and production team comprised of Simpsons fans, and they appear to have as much fun performing the show as the audience does watching it.
At present, The Simsinz only has one more performance date scheduled – February 14, 2020. It will be the perfect Valentine’s date for anyone that loves The Simpsons, musical theatre, drag… or any combination of the three.
Runs Until 14 February 2020 | Photo Credit: Spin Cycle