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Entries in Holy Bouncing Boobies! [2012] (1)

Monday
Aug062012

Holy Bouncing Boobies! A Batman Burlesque (2012)

Comic Stripping

In case you're wondering, Holy Bouncing Boobies! A Batman Burlesque isn't playing at a cineplex near you. The live stage show runs now through October 27th at Skokie, IL's Gorilla Tango Theatre. I can say with utmost confidence that there's no better use of your time, money, and airline miles than getting out to see this thing at least once.* Sell a kidney; defer Junior's college fund; ink a deal with Ol' Scratch if necessary. The pilgrimage is worth it. Hell, I'm even breaking my (mostly) inflexible "Movie Reviews Only" rule to endorse it.

The show, written by Jeremy Eden and directed by Juicy Lucy, is a racy send-up of the 1960s Batman TV series. Batman (Marie Curieosity) and Robin (Crystal Paradise) receive a cryptic clue from The Riddler (Vicki Van Go-Go) as to the whereabouts of their unseen, kidnapped partner, Batgirl. A mad dash around Gotham City pits our heroes against their rogues gallery, all of whom give up additional clues after being beaten into submission. Of course, "beaten into submission" translates to "stripping down to panties and pasties while being out-danced by the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder".

The first thing you should know about Holy Bouncing Boobies is that it's not just a gimmicky strip show. Eden's script is legitimate and legitimately hilarious, especially as performed by all the girls on stage. When Egghead (Bottom Heavy Betty) shows up, armed with dozens of puns and not much else, Robin has the first of two major existential crises: have the Dynamic Duo wasted their time chasing fetishistic nitwits, or does their routine amount to actual crime-fighting? In typical Bruce Wayne fashion, Batman dismisses the notion with some haughty aphorism--which somehow quells Robin's concerns. You see, Eden's Gotham City is populated solely by horny nitwits who take turns getting the best of each other while in various states of dress.

The script's loving deconstruction of the source material plays like a foul-mouthed Mad Magazine parody. But very few of the laughs are cheap. Most of the jokes and visual gags are clever, well-considered, and aimed at the head as much as the gut. They're also not limited to making fun of the Adam West-era Batman, which I'd long thought drained of comic potential. Eden gets in jabs at Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and--in a wonderful barometer of audience hipness--a nod to West's more recent endeavors.

I was also taken aback by the fact that, despite the cast being exclusively female, the characters mostly refer to each other in masculine terms. The age-old subtext of Batman and Robin's potentially homoerotic partnership is touched on here, but gets turned on its head due to the  gender reversal. Almost everyone comes out as at least bi-sexual by the end, with Batman lusting after "his" partner, while also pretending to fend off advances from Catwoman (Kali CandyKiss), The Joker (Baby Davis), and even Commissioner Gordon (Betty).

The second contributor to the show's success is its cast. Each performer's comic timing is spot on, and they rock the sultry (and often very funny) choreography. It was cool to see what I first assumed were supporting players show up in major roles later on--especially in the case of CandyKiss, who squawks and struts as one of the Penguin's (Phaedra Black) henchmen before taking over the stage as Catwoman a couple scenes later.

I won't deny that the show's sultry charms worked on me. Holy Bouncing Boobies features a bevy of attractive women with diverse body types who leave almost nothing to the imagination. But the biggest turn-on was the fact that they give their all in service of a rich, pop-geek-friendly comedy show. I could have probably sat through the whole thing blindfolded and had just as good a time (though I would have been robbed of Towanda Lust's deliciously schizoid Two-Face act and the crazy little glitter gag that the Joker pulls out of nowhere).**

This was my first Gorilla Tango Burlesque show, and it won't be my last. The company puts on several different movie and pop-culture-themed performances in the Chicagoland area, parodying everything from The Super Mario Brothers to The Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. If those shows are half as good as Holy Bouncing Boobies, that still makes them three times more entertaining than the last few summer blockbusters I've had to endure. If you're in the area between now and late September, I urge you to bring some friends and leave your preconceptions.

Note: If you're attending Wizard World Chicago this weekend, you can meet some of the Gorilla Tango gals at booth #2472. Yeah, this is a double-plug. What of it?

*This includes surgeons, government officials, astronauts, and missionaries. Sure you're saving the world, or whatever, but Holy Bouncing Boobies is a crucial reminder of why it's worth saving.

**"Nowhere" is code for "underwear".