Sunday, April 4, 2010

Circus Finelli's Frau Bachfeifengesicht's Spectacle of Perfection": ☼ ☼ ☼ baub

You're looking at Molly Shannon as Carmelita and Luz Gaxiola as Frau Bachfeifengesicht. You can't say either one of these women steal the show because both grab on to the limelight and run with it. The four-woman troupe of Shannon, Gaxiola, Mahsa Matin as Mustard (the clown) and Verka Zaskodna as the Cell Phone Horror Lady are a lot of fun to watch, even if all the bits don't always mesh. It's even funny when they don't.

Perhaps our favorite bit of all is the Wheel of Death. People come out of the audience to spin this wheel, realizing that the odds of winning the beer are considerably less than the slap in the face. This reviewer guesses that anyone fortunate enough to win the beer will also receive a slap in the face.

Next favorite: the knife throwing event. When the women are spoofing circus routines, as in this routine and the delightfully silly Wheel of Death, the show is at its satirical best.

The slapstick chase bits, especially when the Cellphone Horror Lady is running around the theater, are less novel. But every time Carmelita takes the stage, particularly as the disgusted Latina diva who used to employ an elephant in her glory days, and as part of the duo of Greek Musclemen from Mykonos, the laughs are nonstop.

It's a short, delightful evening of theater/circus/satire. If you're lucky you'll win a free beer, but if you're even luckier you'll get a firm one to the chops courtesy Frau Bachfeifengesicht.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ baub

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Circus Finell's Frau Bachfeifengesicht's Spectacle of Perfection" Three Stars with a bauble of despair.

The show deserves three stars because you will really enjoy it -- short, sweet, funny, inexpensive and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Mustard even drew with a red crayon on a certain reviewer's balding forehead before the show (no, not anyone in the SF Theater Blog entourage). That takes courage.

The bauble of despair is to alert readers that you may also be disappointed by the uneven-ness of the show. But when it works it works, especially every moment with smiling Shannon and sneering Gaxiola.

"Circus Finelli's Frau Bachfeifengesicht's Spectacle of Perfection"
Stage Werx Theatre
533 Sutter Street (downstairs), San Francisco
Through April 25

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