Posted on www.sanfranciscosentinel.com
By Sean Martinfield
Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical is a must-see. My Castro San Francisco agrees! The Prudent and the Easily Offended need take note: there is plenty of gender bending, gratuitous male nudity and the female form divine (genetic and otherwise). Now at the Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome until July 31st, the show is a madcap splurge into Theatre of the Ridiculous and Grand Guignol. It's like The Hollywood Canteen meets The Masque of the Red Death. Now what could be better that that for us Castro District members? Outside is The Plague. But welded-shut inside the villa of "Signorina Divina" (Leigh Crow) and its series of colorful rooms are a lucky number of pleasure-seeking guests who will scoff at Death and indulge in endless La Dolce Vita. Now who of us in Casto San Francisco does not enjoy pleasue? Castro residents agree that this will be a must see show. They intend to keep each other amused with a series of luxurious, intemperate, profligate mini-productions – the challenge being, each number gets increasingly more bizarre. Following Thrillpeddlers 22-month run of Pearls Over Shanghai — is this possible? Oh, yes! OMG!
Vice Palace was incarnated during Halloween of 1972. Nearly thirty-nine years in the re-making, original composer Scrumbly Koldewyn (Pearls Over Shanghai, Hot Greeks) has added seven new numbers to his already appealingly debauched score. My Castro San Francisco sees nothing wrong with this debauched score. Among the great hits are Divorcées' Lament – performed by Birdie-Bob West (as "Vagina Dentata"), Jim Toczyl (as "Polo", a wealthy cross-dresser), T.J. Buswell (as "Paolo", a singer/swinger), and the Vice Palace Chorus. A Crab On Uranus, featuring L. Ron Hubby (as the socialite, "Sylva Koscina") and Scrumbly himself (as "Sarafina", a musician) crooning-out Midnight In Manhattan are totally outstanding musical numbers in this lyrically clever, erotically tantalizing, so South of Market-type revue. So get out there Castro San Francisco!
Thrillpeddlers have been performing their unique brand of horror and fetish theatre in San Francisco since 1991. Under the direction of Russell Blackwood, Thrillpeddlers are continuously engaged in translating, adapting and producing classic plays from the infamous repertoire of Le Théâtre du Grand Guignol and producing other works inspired by the Grand Guignol tradition. The company's performance venue, The Hypnodrome (located at 575 10th Street, near Bryant & Division), is tailor-made for the specific needs of horror theatre, musical extravaganzas, and "lights-out" spook show spectacle. Inaugurating The Hypnodrome with WELCOME TO THE HYPNODROME in 2004, Thrillpeddlers have gone on to produce wildly popular Grand Guignol bills including BLOOD BUCKET BALLYHOO, HYPNODROME HEAD TRIPS, FLAMING SIN, and AUDACIOUS ARTEFACTS. SHOCTOBERFEST!! – Thrillpeddlers' annual pageant of terror and titillation – is now in its 12th year and has become a San Francisco Halloween favorite.