Friday, May 07, 2010
The Thrillpeddlers theatre troupe has just opened a revival of the 1971 Cockettes musical, "Hot Greeks," which turns out to be a mashup of the ancient, obscene Aristophanes comedy "Lysistrata" and would-be innocent Hollywood 1940s college musicals such as "Good News" with June Allyson.
The 75-minute show is a complete triumph: funny, bawdy, and with extravagant costumes by Kara Emry and Morningwood. The late Martin Worman's book and lyrics are surprisingly sophisticated with a wide range of references both pop and classical, and there is an extraordinary score by original Cockettes composer Scrumbly Koldewyn, who presides at the piano.
The musical starts with a fairly creditable version of the end of Euripedes' "Medea" that morphs into the title song, "Hot Greeks."
This is where Professor Pompous (above, played by Lanny Baugniet accompanied by Connie Champagne as Clitorista) explains Greek comedy to the uninitiated student body, who proceed to break into a huge, ensemble production number, just the first of many.
Somewhere in all of this, Lysistrata convinces her fellow college cheerleaders to stop having sex and return their proudly displayed school pins to their football player boyfriends because the athletes are spending too much time playing football and not enough time playing with them.
Clitoristra encourages the football players to have sex with each other in the interim during the elaborate "Everybody's Got a Buddy on the Front" song and dance routine, while Lysistrata seeks out help from the oracle Mata Dildoes, played by the director and Thrillpeddlers founder Russell Blackwood (below).
This is the occasion for an hilarious showstopper, where Mata Dildoes explains in song and dance why she is NOT "The Hot Twat of Tangier," complete with chorus.
Eric Tyson Wertz (above), who plays the virtuous Lili Frustrata in the still-running "Pearls Over Shanghai," continues his string of innocent maiden roles, in this case the virginal Pandora, sister to Lysistrata.
His/her romance with the hugely endowed Pendulum Polaski, played by the movie star handsome William McMichael above, is actually rather cute and touching.
"Hot Greeks" plays through June 27th on Thursday nights at 8PM and Sunday evenings at 7PM. It's in repertory with "Pearls Over Shanghai" which holds down the fort Friday and Saturday nights. The latter just hit the one-year mark in a series of extended runs, and they've announced the show will run through August.
Currently, "Hot Greeks" is only slated to play through June 27th, so you might want to get tickets now, and you can join celebrities in the audience such as Mink Stole, above right with Russell Blackwood. He introduced her as "the only person to have worked with all three companies that formed the Bermuda Triangle of the Theatre of the Ridiculous in the 1970s: Charles Ludlam in New York, John Waters in Baltimore, and the Cockettes in San Francisco."