Gay best friends go underground in a Pomona cul-de-sac in an attempt to change the hearts and minds of conservative America in John Trapper’s Fairies With Children (The Yes On Hate Episode), a World Premiere comedy now playing at the Meta Theatre.

As its title suggests, Fairies With Children is a take-off on TV’s long-running Married With Children, with Alan and Peter (those gays on a mission) disguising themselves as Al and Peggy Bundy in their quest for gay-straight understanding. Just how posing as a “NoMo HoMo” sign-carrying heterosexual couple will turn homophobes into homophiles is anyone’s guess, but watching the bogus Al and Peggy’s attempts to do so makes for a couple hours of LGBT-positive fun.

Soon after their move to Pomona, “Al” finds a job at Gayless Shoes, leaving “Peggy” at home to cruise for sex on Adam4Adam. Who should show up at their doorstep but a very studly Lt. Dan Choice, who decides to stick around as Bundy son Bud. Completing the family is Avon, a dumb blonde who pops by the Bundys’ one day representing PFLAG. (How dumb is Avon? She’s so dumb, she thinks PFLAG is pronounced as a single syllable beginning with a double consonant.) Naturally, Avon agrees to become Al and Peggy’s dumb blonde daughter Kelly.

Narrated by Buck The Dog, the Bundys’ audio-animatronic pooch, Fairies With Children also introduces us to the couple’s “pro-closet” U.S. Congressman Gayvid Greier and his “assistant” Chad, whom Peggy mistakes for “two of those Morons” when the couple arrive at their door. (She means Mormons.) Seeing the Bundys as trouble in the making, Gayvid decides to “get out of Dodge”—in other words he and Chad will pretend to leave the neighborhood but actually stick around disguised as new neighbors Jefferson and Marcy Darcy.

Completing the cast of characters is Sandy The Tea Party Lady, a zaftig ultraconservative spinster battling the Gay Agenda door-to-door—or at least until her remote control breaks one fateful day.

Like Trapper’s previous The Golden Gays, Fairies With Children is likely to prove most popular with gay fans of the TV show it spoofs. Both comedies feature men in drag, plenty of punch lines, and musical sequences which turn familiar show tunes into gay-themed song spoofs.

Married With Children’s theme song “Love And Marriage” becomes “No Gay Marriage,” Little Shop Of Horror’s “Dentist!” turns into “I’m His Assistant” (“Be an assistant by sucking his dick”), and Hairspray’s “Good Morning Baltimore” has Sandy singing “Good Morning Fox And Friends” (“Oh, oh, oh, woke up today, feeling the hate that I always do”). Other song spoofs include “You Can’t Stop The Hate,” a takeoff on Hairspray’s “You Can’t Stop The Beat” and “Somewhere That’s Gay” from Little Shop’s “Somewhere That’s Green.” (The latter has Marcy/Chad singing “I know Gayvid’s an a-hole” in place of “I know Seymour’s the greatest.”) Dreamgirls’ “Family” becomes “Family” (but with new lyrics), Annie’s “Tomorrow” morphs into the gay anthem “Equality Comes Tomorrow,” and “Did Ask – Did Tell” maintains the complicated three-part harmonies of Guys And Dolls’ “Fugue For Tinhorns” while presenting contrasting points of view on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Playwright Trapper has done his Married With Children homework, as have his cast, who deliver spot-on impersonations of the sitcom’s iconic characters. Trapper also knows how to tell a joke, making Fairies With Children one of the funniest shows in town, if you don’t mind a bit of crudity in your humor. Logic, on the other hand, may not be Fairies With Children’s strongest suit. Besides the question posed earlier (How will pretending to be a family of uncouth homophobes change other uncouth homophobes’ minds?), there’s the illogic of Alan and Peter (and the other “Bundys”) remaining in character even when home alone. (Say what?) Since Avon isn’t just dumb when playing Kelly, she’s dumb as herself as well, one can’t help wonder how it is that she suddenly turns Mensa late in the play—before reverting to dumbness. Also, moments where characters suddenly speak like HRC or GLAAD soundbites also ring more than a tad false, and most likely are a case of preaching to the choir.

Still, Fairies With Children’s heart is definitely in the right place, and there are some truly inspired moments, as when Sandy imagines herself the host of Fox And Friends, with pundits Larry Craig, Carrie Prejean, Sarah Palin, and Ted Haggard as her guests, the cast holding up photo masks of each as actual recorded quotes (“I went there for a massage”) are played over the sound system.

Under Sean Riley’s snappy direction, the entire cast do first-rate comedic work. Marco Tazioli does a spot-on imitation of Ed O’Neill’s Al Bundy, and my guess is that Katey Sagal would give thumbs up to Guy Windsor’s deliciously self-centered, big-haired Peggy. Charles Romaine’s hunk-quotient is matched by his comedic chops and fine vocalizing. Erin Muir makes for a very funny dumb blonde as Kelly, and Eric Adams and Dexter de Sah get laughs aplenty as both Gayvid and Chad and Jefferson and Marcy. Finally, in the role of Sandy, the magnificent Donna Pieroni scores comedically, vocally, and dramatically, Sandy’s eleventh hour epiphany likely to coax a tear or two even from the most hard-hearted soul.

The Bundy living room has been nicely recreated on a budget, sound and lighting designs are first rate, and Vincent Lapper’s costumes are spot-on choices for each character. Trapper is executive producer, Carlos Castro Gonzales associate producer, Jim Mora technical director, Laura Coe stage manager, Tom Thor production designer, and Daniel Alexander music coach.

Though rough around the edges, Fairies With Children (The Yes On Hate Episode) does what it sets out to do—entertain, and maybe even make its audience think a bit about the world we live in. To paraphrase another classic TV show’s theme song, I had a gay old time!

Meta Theatre, 7801 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.
–Steven Stanley
November 13, 2010

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