Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
Also see Patrick's review of Mahalia Jackson: Just as I Am
They are now presenting Star Trek Live!: Mudd's Women running through January 23rd. I am not a "Trekkie," but I enjoyed the high camp and I admire the accuracy of wigs and costumes. You don't need to be "Star Trek" fan or a drag show fan to enjoy this travesty of an episode in the "Star Trek" series.
The original episode called "Mudd's Women" first aired October 13, 1966, and the synopsis read "Duplicating a page from the 'Old West'; hanky-panky aboard with a cargo of women destined for a far-off colony." The original script was so melodramatic that it lent itself to parody. There were many camp lines in the original, but the original cast played it seriously. Here, the cast plays it for high camp.
Star Trek Live!: Mudd's Women features an all-women cast for the Enterprise crew while the three female characters who are predetermined to be sent off to a colony are played by men in drag. They sidesplittingly and staunchly recreate the specific episode. The Bay Area Reporter called it "High-camp comedy" and I agree with that.
The cast is perfect, with drag king icon Leigh Crow billed as "the world's only female William Shatner impersonator" leading the starship Enterprise. She speaks in sheared rhythms in a deep voice and walks with a full boldness. She is a female William Shatner. Emily France is enjoyable as Scotty as she actually morphs into the character with all of the mannerisms of the original and even accentuates Scotty's intrinsic enunciation. Honey Mahogany is very sensual and vivacious as Lieutenant Uhura. Amber Sommerfeld as Mr. Spock plays the role seriously and does not camp it up. Ammo Eisu as Sulu and Zelda Koznofski as Bones are excellent in their roles.
Jef Valentine, Jordan L'Moore, and Persia are the "women" in this group. They are an enticing trio of female impersonators, a prissy lot as they cavort across the stage. One would say they "overact" the roles. Jef Valentine shines as Eve, especially when she is escaping a vicious windstorm and goes into the audience begging folks to save her.
D'Arcy Drollinger and Laurie Bushman beautifully directed this 90-minute piece with the emphasis on high camp. Costumes by Amie Sarazan are authentic Enterprise uniforms and fabulous dresses for the female impressionists.
Star Trek Live!: Mudd's Women plays through January 23rd, 2016, at the Oasis, 298 Eleventh Street, San Francisco. For tickets visit www.sfoasis.com.