Watching the Detectives

While rain poured down on (but hardly slowed down) the proud homos at Motor City Pride, the Wonder Twins ducked into the Ringwald, Ferndale's go-to spot for campy independent theater, to get an eyeful of some foxy ladies, specifically the ladies in Code Foxy: Man Down.

Laura: I love the Ringwald Theater based on name alone. How can you not love a theater named after Molly Ringwald?

D'Anne: It is?

Laura: I don't really know. But it is completely possible. And appropriate. And it's what I want to believe. And theater is all about believing what you want to believe.

D'Anne: Um, I'm not sure that's what theater is all about. I think that's what, say, being a pathological liar is all about. Or some kind of psychotic.

Laura: Same things. But live theater has a reputation for being kind of stuffy and serious. You know, like when you hear somebody say, "I'm going to a play," you immediately picture some long, drawn-out period piece about sad sisters in Russia. Or 12 Angry Cats on a Hot Tin Roof. Or whatever those old plays nobody likes are called. 

D'Anne: True. The Ringwald isn't like that. It's campy and lewd. And fun.

Laura: Right. And even after seeing a play filled with dick jokes, you can still go to work the next day and sound all cultured by telling people you went to the theater over the weekend.

D'Anne: Personally I like the fact that the theater company is called Who Wants Cake?, because who doesn't want cake?

Laura: Nobody doesn't want cake.

D'Anne: Exactly. Though I have to admit I was disappointed that there wasn't any actual cake. Funfetti cake would have been especially nice.

Laura: I would even settle for Little Debbie snack cakes.

D'Anne: You would. She makes crappy cakes.

Laura: Cake or no cake, we weren't disappointed with Code Foxy: Man Down. And I'd rather sink my teeth into one of those Tigers than Little Debbie any day.

D'Anne: I would hope so since the Code Foxy ladies — Sugar Tiger, Summer-Winter Tiger, Pam Tiger, Chassy Tiger and Dr. Raven Tiger — are presumably of age.

Laura: Right. But I meant the snack cakes, not Little Debbie herself. That's gross. She's a child.

D'Anne: No she isn't; as a matter of fact, she just turned 50 this year.

Laura: Well, I'm down with a little May-December if it'll get me some free Zebra Cakes.

D'Anne: Whatever.

Laura: I'd seen Code Foxy: Man Down three years ago when it won the Planet Ant Winter Improv Colony Fest.

D'Anne: And you wouldn't shut up about it. You kept going on and on about how funny it was. About how I'd made such a mistake in not going. About how my life would never be complete.

Laura: Well, was I right or was I right?

D'Anne: I don't think it completed my life, which is good, since I'm not ready to die. But I'm really glad that I got to see it.

Laura: It's a cute little Charlie's Angels spoof.

D'Anne: Charlie's Angels the TV series. Not Charlie's Angels the Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz movie.

Laura: Right. The ladies of the Foxy Tiger Detective Agency try to find a killer and ruin his cocaine business all while looking, well, foxy.

D'Anne: Except Pam.

Laura: That's not nice.

D'Anne: What? She wears a sweat suit through the whole thing. And, for a brief period, a mustache.

Laura: True. She's not foxy. If this were Cagney & Lacey she'd be Bruce Vilanch.

D'Anne: I think you mean Tyne Daly.

Laura: Right. I'm always getting them confused. Unlike the other Tigers, Pam (Suzan Jacokes) is a Tiger by birth. Her grandfather Baron Rex put together the Foxy Tigers, and, since she's an ex-cop, he needed her expertise.

D'Anne: Right. And then she gets to avenge his death with the help of her drug-snorting rock star sister Sugar (Lauren Bickers).

Laura: Along with the other Tigers, of course. The ditsy Summer-Winter (Anne Faba), the bird-nerd Dr. Raven (Kathryn Trepkowski) and the groovylicious Chassy (Cara Trautman).

D'Anne: Watching them in action, it made me think maybe we should open our own detective agency.

Laura: As in, we would solve crimes and stuff? I don't know, D'Anne. I can't help but think you're just being drawn in by the outfits.

D'Anne: Well, kind of. I mean, I already like to wear sweat suits. So I'm halfway to being just like Pam Tiger!

Laura: And I'm already steeped in the ways of method acting — which will come in handy when I have to go under cover.

D'Anne: Method acting?

Laura: You know, it's when you let somebody punch you in the face for money.

D'Anne: Wow, I do not think that is correct.

Laura: Like you'd know.

D'Anne: It was cool seeing these women in a scripted play, since most of them are well-known in Detroit for doing improv. I've seen Anne Faba, Lauren Bickers and Cara Trautman at Go! Comedy before and thought they were hilarious.

Laura: I think that's why some of the best parts of Code Foxy seemed unscripted.

D'Anne: Yes. Name mix-ups got a lot of laughs. Like when Pam called Summer-Winter "Sugar," her sister's name, at the end. Or when Summer-Winter called Pam "Pammy-Heidi."

Laura: I actually just saw Suzan Jacokes in Die! Mommie! Die! (at the Ringwald until June 12) as Bootsie Carp, a closet alcoholic maid with a deep Southern drawl. She is really good in that too.

D'Anne: You just have a thing for closet alcoholic maids with deep Southern drawls.

Laura: Not exactly. But close.

D'Anne: Was Die! Mommie! Die! the play better than Die, Mommie, Die! the 2003 movie?

Laura: They were exceptionally similar, but the play has an LSD dream sequence that features a giant suppository. So that automatically makes it the winner. Even without Jason Priestly.

D'Anne: Is the giant suppository played by a person?

Laura: No. It's a prop that's paraded around the stage by two of the leads. 

D'Anne: Got it. The Ringwald is all about the gay plays. Die! Mommie! Die! is totally gay. And Code Foxy: Man Down certainly has its gay moments.

Laura: True. And considering how many gays were swarming around Ferndale, probably many of them looking for excuses to get out of the rain, it's a shame there weren't more people at this performance.

D'Anne: Yeah. The audience seemed to be mostly older straight couples.

Laura: Which is proof that old people have a better sense of humor than you think they do.

D'Anne: Right. So stop worrying if a PG-13 movie is gonna be too racy for Grandma and take her to see Code Foxy: Man Down or Die! Mommie! Die! at the Ringwald.

Laura: Because sexy time jokes are too often wasted on the young.

D'Anne and Laura Witkowski are music critics for the Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]
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