Thrill Peddlers’ ‘Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical’ is over-the-top San Francisco fun

(Charles Kruger)

This reviewer is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC)

“Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical” by Martin Worman, music by Richard ‘Scrumbly’ Koldewyn, lyrics by Martin Worman & Richard ‘Scrumbly’ Koldewyn, produced by Thrillpeddlers. Director: Russell Blackwood. Scenic Designer: James Blackwood. Costumes: Kara Emry. Lighting: Nicholas Torre. Sound: Chris Paulina. Technical Director: TJ Buswell. Choreographers: John LeFan, Cindy Goldfield, D’Arcy Drollinger, Bonni Suval.

Signorina Divina: Leigh Crow. Bella: Eric Tyson Wertz. Gina: Bonni Suval. Goldoni: Flynn de Marco. Federico Fellatio: Tony Wichowski. Vicci: Zelda Koznofski. Lucretia: Russel Blackwood. Polo: Jim Toczyl. Paolo: Jim Jeske. Niccolini: Steven Satyricon. Ricciolinni: Joshua Devore. Marco: Fennel Skellyman. Tonio: Ste Fishell. Sylva Koscina: L. Ron Hubby. Lola Ginafrigida: Tina Sogliuzzo. Vagina Dentata: Birdie-Bob Watt. Serafina: Scrumbly Koldewyn.

Wealthy jet setting Italian maven Signorina Divina (Leigh Crow aka Elvis Herselvis) invites her fashionable friends, most notably famous film director Frederico Fellatio (Tony Wichowski) and his entourage to hide out in her fabulous villa during a 1960s return of the medieval plague (The Red Death). She seals off the villa to keep out the plague because there’s blood on the plaza. Her guests are effectively prisoners. To keep them entertained and distracted she sets up a series of variety entertainments. That’s it.

Thrillpeddlers presents "Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical". Photo credit: Thrillpeddlers.

Summary Review

Plot: Are you kidding?

Characters: Over the top.

Logic: Huh?

Taste: Present as a song performed by Signor Fellatio, but otherwise conspicuously absent.

Fun and laughter: Off the hook. Waaaaaaay off the hook.

The set up for the evening is nothing more than an excuse for some of San Francisco’s most outrageous underground, drag and sex performers to deliver material that is clearly the best of the west. The goal of the evening according to co-writer, co-lyricist and composer Scrumbly Koldewyn (who brilliantly plays the accompaniment for every performance as unforgettable drag character Serafina) is that each entertainment of Signorina Divina “must be progressively more outrageous.” The goal is reached and surpassed.

Leigh Crow figuratively grabs the audience by the scruff of the neck and shakes us into delirium in a part originally created by the incomparable Divine.

The numbers are screamingly funny and more than outrageous. Is that a ribbon hanging out of the naked butt of the guy playing the tantric guru? Oh. my. god. Are those muscle twins simulating enthusiastically athletic anal sex while simultaneously belting in classic musical comedy style with twinkling eyes next to a tapdancing igloo? Did a drag character named Sylva Koscina (L. Ron Hubby) sing a torchy number with the title “A Crab On Uranus”, while dressed as said crab? All that and more.

You might not want to bring grandma (yet who knows?), but if you know how to let it all hang out, and don’t mind it if the actors let it ALL hang out (and I DO mean ALL), you will have a good time. Funny +++.

Bottom (so to speak) line: If this sort of thing is your sort of thing, don’t miss “Vice Palace”. Click here for further information.

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