Busch Fest | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Busch Fest The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Fri., Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m. and Fri., Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m. 2010

When Vampire Lesbians of Sodom moved from an East Village bar to Off-Broadway's Provincetown Playhouse in 1985, its smart, hilarious camp earned it notoriety and a five-year run. Program A in this mini-festival dedicated to drag auteur Charles Busch resurrects Busch's disjointed tale of undead lesbian rivals. Anthony DiNicola and Mary Hollis Inboden impart a catty grandeur to the lead roles in this production directed by Andrew Hobgood, which tackles Busch's script with inane gusto. Loosing a torrent of high drama and cheap puns, Vampire Lesbians garners enough laughs to compensate for its mate on the bill, Sleeping Beauty, or Coma, the festival's weakest offering. Program B thrusts a pair of Busch's early plays onstage with delightful enthusiasm. As mindless as a game of Candy Land, Theodora She-Bitch of Byzantium is a dubious candidate for revival. But Pardon My Inquisition, or Kiss the Blood Off my Castanets offers a fairly gripping story amid playful pansexual debauchery. Busch designed his satirical genre send-ups for maximum leading-lady melodrama, and Danny Taylor (as Theodora) and DiNicola (as Maria Garbonza in Inquisition) take full advantage. The hectic energy of the production--from the haughty shrugging off of missed cues to the seemingly improvised fabulousness of the costumes--suggests passion rather than carelessness. --Keith Griffith

Price: $12

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