Bitches be Slappin’ for Laughs in SF
Soap Spoof

by Kevin M. Thomas,
@ReelKev

D’Arcy Drollinger has outdone herself.  She has blown me away with her talents and has set the bar
so high, that every one of her shows you’d think it’s her last touch of brilliance.  Well, the writer/director/actor/actress/singer/dancer/comedian has even topped herself (which sounds fun on its own) with her new production of “Bitch Slap!,” a never-ending laugh riot that spoofs 1980s soap opera and
telenovelas.

Drollinger and crew bring to life a full soap opera that wins you over from its “Dynasty” like credits at the beginning to the plot twist cliffhanger at the end.  What’s in between is also a delicious bite of hilarity as rivals battle for the coveted pattern of shoulder pad dynasty, rivals battle over the affection of men, rivals battle over relationships with mothers and more. There are so many rivalries that it’s easy to see why the show is called “Bitch Slap!”as lots of bitches are getting slapped.

This is truly a soap opera come to life, complete with over-the-top performances and backstage narration. Drollinger’s clever script also ties in real soap opera titles and uses multimedia to project some exterior scenes on a large, high definition TV screen. Further, just when you think the parody has reaches its pinnacle, the show doesn’t stop reaching for a higher bar.

In the second act, there’s a very “dramatic” soap moment as all of the actors start delivering their lines in Spanish a la telenovela, chewing up the scenery with overacting and stylish flare.  It’s as if we turned the channel to a telenovela. So well done!

Drollinger’s brilliant direction and writing are in top form. But she also scores as an actress, playing the lead role of Diana Midnight to shear perfection. Drollinger in her earlier roles in “Sex and the City” and “Shit & Champagne” has perfected the highbrow voice of a true drama queen. This time around, she adds a funny lisp which makes some of her lines take on a whole new, funny meaning. Further, she continues to surround herself with San Francisco’s best, who are all likely drawn to Drollinger’s wonderful material.

Matthew Martin is on-hand to play Drollinger’s very young mother, who prefers to be known as her younger sister. Martin gets big laughs every time he comes on stage after a dramatic moment and asks “What’s going on?” Then there’s Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, who is the drag name of J. Conrad Frank. Whether performing as a man or a woman, Smirnoff/Frank has the perfect demeanor and bitchy tone to make her a perfect nemesis for Drollinger’s Diana. Let the catfights begin!

Steven LeMay, who I will always remember as the calf model from “Shit & Champagne,” is equally compelling as the loud, big haired, handicapped adoptive daughter of Drollinger and seems to have a tough time staying out of harm’s way. But don’t worry about her missing any catfights as this bitch has nine lives!

Sergio Lobito, who I recently discovered in “Debbie Does Dallas,” is likely to get in his own feud with the always funny Nancy French, as Lobito is a scene stealer like no other. His deadpan delivery will make French likely put a banana peel or “Showgirl” beads outside his dressing room as Lobito commands attention. If his facial expressions and delivery doesn’t do it, his loud expressive voice will get you.

But neither of them can match the slapstick humor of Adam Roy, the Jim Carrey of the Bay Area. Roy can deliver any line and make it original and funny. His pratfalls are beyond belief and he looks cute clothed or shirtless. Don’t tell the world about him just yet – as we need him to remain in the Bay Area for as long as we
can.

The rest of the ensemble is also worth noting. Jef Valentine’s character has so many secrets but no one seems to listen. But they do notice how convincing of a lush he is, hoping that’s the acting and not the fun show-themed cocktails offered at Oasis. Manuel Caneri takes full advantage of his “Miami Vice” style and adds a fun edge to it and Crissy Fields’ tacky character has a ring of truth to it thanks to her real Dallas accent.

With a cool venue, fun cocktails and a show at the top of its game, you really should be bitch slapped for not attending. The show runs through Sept. 9. Get tickets and information at www.sfoasis.com.

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