Sunday, July 5, 2009

SF Mime Troupe: "Too Big to Fail": ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG BANG

Comedian Jimmy Walker used to have a bit about how he loved watermelon but refused to eat it because if he did someone would be sure to stick a camera in his face and the next day that picture of a black man eating a watermelon would be on the front page of the New York Daily News with the caption: Summer's Here!

Watermelon notwithstanding, for this reviewer Summer does not begin until the Fourth of July, when the San Francisco Mime Troupe opens at Dolores Park. 2009 is the troupe's Golden Anniversary, and for each of the last fifty years they have been taking the previous year's political and cultural events, filtering them through the Mime Troupe lens of Revolution mixed with Guerrilla Theater, and presenting us with an afternoon of onstage and offstage mayhem that we talk about for the rest of the year.

This year they've outdone themselves. "Too Big To Fail" is too good not to be seen by everyone. From the queens (with names like Reina Terror and Tammy Faye Bakersfield) giving goofy dedications at the outset, to the troupe taking its well-deserved bows at the end, this show always brings out our city at its weird and wacky best.

Pat Moran's songs are funny and good, with "More Money" and "Too Big To Fail" particular standouts. The band is terrific -- Moran has that catchy West African guitar style down pat. Keiko Shimosato's shark costume (as the evil shark devours all the smaller fish, one by one) has to be seen to be believed. As always, the show is so topical it hurts. It's a carnival atmosphere and it's free. Come on. How can anyone live anywhere in the Bay Area and not go to see the Mime Troupe?

Shall we not forget to mention how classic it is to revile the plutocrats one second and then raise the rack of exorbitantly priced Mime Troupe t-shirts and banners while extorting us to buy, buy, buy?

But, hey. Nothing ever makes sense in this city and the Mime Troupe doesn't either, except that they're brilliant and caustic and hysterical. Summer's here! If you don't go see "Too Big to Fail" you're a capitalist stooge who probably doesn't even like watermelon.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Too Big to Fail" Three Stars with Two BANGLES of PRAISE. Michael Gene Sullivan (who co-wrote the show with Ellen Callas), Velina Brown and Adrian Mejia are excellent, as well as the rest of the cast: Ed Holmes (who will always be Dick Cheney to us), Lisa Hori-Garcia and BW Gonzalez. One BANGLE of PRAISE is for that surreal shark dress (all the buzz in the crowd afterwards was about that dress); and the other is for the way the troupe involves the crowd with all the obvious lines: TROUPE: What is more important? The bloated plutocrats or the PEOPLE? CROWD ROARING: "THE PEOPLE!" It's so much fun to feel like we're part of this show year after year.

San Francisco Mime Troupe: "Too Big to Fail."
Many Bay Area and Northern California locations
Through Sept. 27
FREE! (You heard me.) FREE!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the kind words, glad that you enjoyed the show!
One quick thing- my name is Pat Moran (not "Peter Moran")
- to be a stickler for details-


Pat Moran
San Francisco Mime Troupe