BOTTOM LINE: Boylesque spoofs the upcoming film Burlesque (and its showbiz dramedy predecessors) with drag queens and gay romance.
In celebration of the upcoming Cher/X-Tina debacle Burlesque, Zach Carey has teamed up with Mimi Imfurst and a slew of D-list non-celebrities in the NYC gay scene to bring audiences a skit-like community theatre spoof of every movie where a kid with a big dream moves to the city to break into showbiz. Carey draws from Burlesque’s trailer as well as films like Valley of the Dolls, Coyote Ugly, Showgirls, Glitter, etc to deliver an outrageous tale of one gay boy’s journey from rural Ohio to a struggling gay bar in Akron where he finds stardom, love, and saves the day!
The show stars Mimi Imfurst as the world’s worst Cher impersonator who happens to own the struggling drag bar Boylesque. Mimi may not have known her lines, but she sold them anyway, carrying the comedy single-handedly through almost two hours of mild humor, minimal plot, and flagrant technical difficulties. Her audacious, one-note bawdiness, timing, and ability to improv with mishaps and audience members alike saved the scenes she was in.
The cast also features Candi Shell, Blackie O., Jack Lemenes, Matthew Brown, and a rotating list of guest stars (mostly downtown queens you know from events like drag bingo at Barracuda). I saw the show on November 19th when Eve Starr cameoed as the tragic disco drag queen Misty Poppers. She stole the show in her three-minute performance and left before the end. She wasn’t the only one.
Boylesque is a general miss. It has an attractive cast, but they lack charisma. There are some good jokes in the script, but they aren’t delivered well. And it parodies insufferable movies that are too long, then matches their time and tedium.
The most entertaining part of Boylesque is watching the snide looks and hearing the barely whispered sneers among the catty Chelsea-ites in the audience. The good news is you’ll have no problem hitting that drink minimum.
Boylesque is a better idea than show. There are some great moments and truly funny quips from Mimi Imfurst, but I couldn’t help thinking it would have been better (and cheaper) to just go to one of Mimi’s shows instead. Still, if you’re dying for a gay scene experience and you love a trainwreck, this show is right up your alley.
(Boylesque plays the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café, 407 West 42nd Street. Remaining performances are Friday, November 24th, Friday, December 3rd, Friday, December 10th, and Friday, December 17th at 10 PM. Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door plus a $15 food/drink minimum. Tickets are available at spincyclenyc.com or by calling 212.352.3101.)