Poking fun at a genre that is already a parody of itself may seem redundant, but David Cerda’s cleverly written, over-the-top productions (or as he puts it, “appalling and distasteful theater”) are hilarious, especially to LGBT audiences. The world of child beauty pageants, a current popular subject of reality television, is a perfect fit for Hell in a Handbag Productions. and a great follow-up to the company's success lampooning B film classics.
Swann Black (a perfectly cast Jeremy Myers) is an adorable little blond Shirley Temple-like talent, not unlike the late Jon Benet Ramsey. Robin, her no-nonsense mother (played by terrific actress/singer Heather Currie) is determined to catapult her child straight to the top of the pageant circuit. The other children vying for the title of Miss Sexy Baby include Leslie Ann DuBonnett (Elizabeth Lesinski), coached by her two gay daddies (the frighteningly funny dynamic duo of AJ Wright and John Cardone), young African-American bombshell Ephiphany Jones (the outlandish Edlyn Griffin), the physically and mentally challenged Beyansay Riddle (played with side-splitting perfection by Alex Grelle), and the pageant’s token little boy, the very effeminate Larry Castlebury (a maniacally grinning triple threat, Steve Love). The journey to the crown is filled with melodrama, musical numbers like “Outta My Way” and “Give ‘Em What They Want” and 90 minutes of raunchy trailer trash, Jerry Springer Show-style humor.
In addition to the live action and musical numbers there are some funny video interviews that play on flat screen TVs scattered around the room. The way that 15 larger-than-life characters, most of whom are dancing their hearts out, can all fit on that tiny Mary’s Attic stage is a tribute to the directorial skill of Derek Czaplewski. Playful costumes, hysterical wigs and wild makeup add to the fun, making this musical confection worth sampling.