Review by Elyse Trevers

Were you a fan of the TV show The Brady Bunch? If so, “The Very Brady Musical” might be fun for you.

The Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine is presenting a new live-streamed performance based on TV’s The Brady Bunch. Even if you didn’t watch the show, you will recognize the show’s iconic opening and theme song

The opening of the original TV program introduced Carol Brady (here played by the charming Kerry Butler) and her three daughters in boxes around her. Then her husband Mike Brady (Gavin Lee) and his three sons complete the frame.

In the musical, the performers are all in their respective positions. It’s the gallery view of Zoom! Even though I personally am tiring of Zoom meetings, I must admit Zoom is the perfect vehicle for this show, particularly the opening. In between Zoom scenes, there is a still shot of the familiar Brady house as if we are entering.

Along with the central characters is Alice, the stalwart housekeeper, played by Klea Blackhurst, who is always available to give the children advice.

In a gentle mocking of the TV show, the characters behave with the innocence of the 70’s. (The show ran from 1969-1974.) The characters are squeaky clean, but the story has darker undertones.

Carol wants some ‘alone time’ with Mike but there’s always someone from the extended family around. The children overhear their parents but misunderstand the conversation and fear their parents will get a divorce. So they determine to get Carol and Mike some marriage counseling from the famous Dr. Anonymous. However, they need money and set out to earn some.

This is where their innocence and double entendres come into play. Greg, inadvertently, becomes a drug mule while Marcia, thinking she is going on a date, is arrested for prostitution. The younger four siblings also get into trouble and the six find themselves in jail. This never would have happened in the ‘70s show. But all ends well and Carol and Mike even get their alone time.

The characters are true to their TV personalities. Mike is comical because he is excessively wordy and can never say anything briefly. Marcia is vain while middle sister Jan bemoans her big sister’s popularity complaining about “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” in a song. Bobby and Cindy are ‘cute’ especially as Cindy mispronounces words.

The show has color-blind casting and the performers are fine
portraying the naive children. The story is silly but if you have a soft spot in your heart for The Brady Bunch, you might enjoy “A Very Merry Brady.” You can buy tickets on the Ogunquit Theater website. It will be available for viewing for a limited period of 96 hours only, through Saturday, November 1.

If you aren’t a Brady Bunch fan, this musical will strike you as silly and not worth the effort unless you want to support not-for-profit theaters. It will be a long time before we can safely return to theaters again. Wouldn’t it be nice if the theaters were still in business?

Multiplex Content Recommendation - 1