Monday, August 11, 2008

Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium

The Thrillpeddlers have ditched their usual focus on Grand Guignol theatre, and have been presenting a double-bill of plays for the last couple of months by two masters of The Theatre of the Ridiculous, Charles Ludlam and Charles Busch. Ludlam died of AIDS in 1987 after essentially reinventing Camille as a sympathetic drag queen, and creating "The Mystery of Irma Vep." Busch wrote the off-Broadway "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" and Broadway's recent "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" but I still don't think he has has ever come up with a better title than "Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium."

The Thrillpeddlers have their own theater called The Hypnodrome which is on 10th Street near the Costco under the freeway, and it's a cultish marvel presided over by the incomparable Russell Blackwood (below right, click here for their website).

You have one more weekend to catch the production, which also includes Ludlam's erotic Marxist take on the "Jack and The Beanstalk" story. Then the troupe is packing their bags and going to New York to reprise the shows in September. May they knock 'em dead.


Matthew Hubbard said...

It was an evening in the theatre I won't soon forget, including a hairy-chested, pleasant faced young man in drag reading from a 1960's book of dating tips for girls about what boys don't like, while being flogged by an easily angered dominatrix.

Civic Center said...

Dear Matty: Oh yes, that would have been the incomparably handsome Eric Tyson Wertz, who performed a drag trifecta Saturday night: Flagellant, Fata Morgana The Queen of the Gypsies, and Flossie the Cow on Roller Skates in "Jack and the Beanstalk." Have a great train trip down south.