Regional Reviews: San Francisco
Lypsinka! the Boxed Set
That Grand "Diva" Lypsinka has swept into San Francisco for a limited engagement at the Alcazar Theatre. Opening night was packed with the enthusiastic patrons of one of America's best drag acts. Lypsinka has not been to our fair city since 1994 when she appeared at the now closed Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint.
You only have to see Lypsinka to believe that she is one of the best drag acts to come down the pike in a long time. A lot of credit has to be given to lighting designer Mark T. Simpson, set designer Jim Boutin and director Kevin Malony for presenting a bang up 70 minute show. The set looks like a disco era scene with flashing lights, loud colors and projections on each side of the stage. It looks like a Las Vegas lounge act, flashy but fun.
Lypsinka is one of those rare jewels who can keep the show moving with amazing transitions, pantomiming one singer after another. The timing of her act is priceless. In rapid fire precision she lip syncs the voices of Natalie Wood in Gypsy, Gloria Swanson's wretched recluse in Sunset Boulevard, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Bassey, Dolores Gray, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.
There are many highlights in the show, especially when she sings the Francis Faye number with various names going with similar names in both female and male genders. After each of the groups, she mimics "what a drag." Another one of her specialties is a series of manic phone calls from many Warner Bros. movies. Doing these scenes under three separate spot lights, in rapid session, is an astonishing feat of comic skill. Another highlight is the "drunken dame" singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas." As each verse comes up, she becomes more smashed, with words becoming gibberish. Even her one liner by Merman, "Who Am I?", throughout the show is priceless.
Lypsinka's facial expressions are fabulous. Sometimes she maintains the look of a demonic deer caught in the headlights of a car. At other times there is the twisted lip of contempt. When she flounces across the stage with wrists that seem to be not part of her body, it is marvelous. Her costumes by Bryant Hoven add an eccentric illusion to the program. One of the great and truly amazing scenes occurs at the end, as the audience is cheering for her and she stands there with an extraordinary look of disdain. It seems to go on for a long, long time, with her sort of frozen in motion. Even as she walks off the stage she gives that look to the audience. However she does come back for one encore.
Lypsinka! the Boxed Set is here through October 28. Ticket are $25 -$40 and she is appearing at the Alcazar Theatre at 650 Geary Street, San Francisco. Call 415-441-4042 or visit www.lyp-tix.com