'ABOVE AND BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA SHOWGIRLS’ COMPLETES A SOLD OUT
FIRST CLASS RUN AT SF OASIS.
“I know she ate my chips” The vixen rockers are always ready to blame each other over an open chip bag and if Dick is in the room. D’Arcy Drollinger’s latest, camp rock musical sold out the SF Oasis stage in April and May of this year. As I post this ULTRA SHOWGIRLS has two more nights of popping pills and is rocking south of Market Street.
It unfortunately closes May 14th. After Drollingers successful ‘Shit and Champagne’ and ‘Temple of Poon’, she teamed with Enrique (music and lyrics) with additional music by Steve Bolinger, to restage this SF cult classic. The camp rock musical was first staged in 1998 at The Transmission Theater, in San Francisco and originally directed by Scrumbly Koldewyn.
Above and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls is a rollercoaster of hilarious melodrama and first-class camp. Oasis, San Francisco’s premiere drag club, is home to a number of different shows and events, but Ultra Showgirls is their most elaborate and well-produced. The show is both written and directed by the fabulous D’Arcy Drollinger, a well-known SF queen who also plays the hysterical Chablis, a member of Super Vixen, a trio of women who are the joint protagonists of Ultra Showgirls.
D’Arcy’s writing is superb, the plot is maniacally nonsensical but deeply engrossing. It draws from influences as diverse as classic drag shows, vaudeville, commedia, musicals, and rock opera. The sheer number of dick jokes that she has managed to fit into this show is unbelievable, and they just keep getting funnier as the plot progresses. The composer and lyricist is the mononymical Enrique, and his work is outstanding.
The road to being the next big rock stars, leads to sex, gratuitous areolas, prostitution, fan go-go girls, hard rock, cat fights, murder, seduction, and betrayal. Add some perfect wigs by Becky motorlodge, and eye popping costumes from Christine Crook and you have a 100 minute Russ Meyer, Liberace, Showgirls parody.
The story follows SUPER VIXEN -- a struggling all-girl rock band with big dreams, big boobs, big hair and big need to meet Dick. Chablis, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer claw their way up the underside of the music industry where they meet low life record company exec Mr. Richard Face, who promises them super-stardom. When he talks Gewürztraminer into leaving her band mates, she changes her name to Sherry, hooks up with even trashier back up girls and becomes an overnight sensation. Comicaly, her rejected friends fall on painful and hilarious spiral of sex, drugs and murder.
The songs move the plot along rather than being breaks from the action, and they are just so damn hilarious. From the female empowerment rock anthem “Thunderpussy” to the blistering pop-culture satire “Ice Bucket,” Enrique’s music drives the show and leaves the audience breathless with laughter.
Like any good drag show the divas onstage have massive personalities and killer comic timing. Super Vixen, the band that serves as a focal point for the plot, is comprised of Chablis, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer (an obscure German wine). Chablis is played by D’Arcy and besides being stunningly beautiful she is raunchy and quick-witted, never afraid to take it just perfectly too over-the-top.
Her Act II solo is a high point of the song, as she growls her way through her anger and emotions. John Paul Gonzalez plays Chardonnay and brings the stage to life with perky personality. She’s a low-class slut with a heart of gold and a propensity for madness, and Gonzalez is triumphantly funny in the role.
Nancy French plays the final member of the trio, and captures the energy of the lady-rockers from the 80’s, like a dumb Cyndi Lauper. Other standouts include the crass and disgusting Richard Face (but you can call him Dick) played by Manuel Caneri, a perfectly fuckable villain. Lavale William Davis does her part beautifully as the crunchy and energetic host Karla Rossi.
The dolls are in Crook’s costumes display a commanding understanding of the campy 80’s drag feeling of the show, all the way through to the tacky-but-perfect costumes of the surprise twist at the end of the show. Lighting designer Leonardo Hidalgo kept the fog at the perfect texture with the back lit stage. Assistant Director Jimmy Moore had the cast entrances and exits from all sides of the Oasis event, and Leigh Crow’s props and signs tell the story of the setting. Steve Bolinger heads the onstage band that are a powerhouse of rock and class - with Julie Vlcek-Burke on horns, and Peter Fogel, Chris Matthews, Tim Perdue fill out the grind band. There were a couple of issues with Michael Creason’s sound design and microphones cutting in and out, but they were minor and didn’t take away from the show at all.
It’s refreshing to see theatre that’s so alive and funny without taking itself too seriously. D’Arcy knows exactly what she can get away with in terms of plot holes and nonsensical transitions that the audience is more than willing to overlook because everyone is having so much damn fun. It’s a must-see for fans of drag and camp, but also for those who love the theatre and want to see something fresh and exciting. Rumor is the ULTRA SHOWGIRLS will return soon, with the sell out at the Oasis - this is a sure cash cow and you will have another chance to see this romp. Be ready to head bang and bow to Dick.
Clip from final act of sell out closing weekend.
D'Arcy Drollinger Presents
Above and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls
Written and Directed by D’Arcy Drollinger
Enrique (Music & Lyrics); Steve Bolinger (Additional Music)
Closes May 14, 2016 - 7 pm
SF Oasis, 298 11thStreet, San Francisco.
Tickets for other shows available at http://sfoasis.com/.
Photo’s and Vid Capture by Vmediaa
additional Vid Capture and more pics from closing weekend Below: