Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


Beach Blanket Babylon
Club Fugazi
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Patrick's recent review of The How and the Why, Eddie's reviews of Second Time Around: A Duet for Cello and Storyteller and Talking Heads and Richard's review of Colossal


Cast
Photo by Rick Markovich
Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco's longest hit musical, is as fresh as ever. This fabulous musical has running for 42 years and this is my fifth time seeing the fast-paced 90-minute musical revue that spoofs topical items. It is, as The New York Times called it, "No less a part of San Francisco than the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower." It's ingenious, slapdash, bouncy, hip, and eclectic—and nonstop fun, with the 11-member cast who wear the most outlandish costumes and gigantic headgear you will ever see on stage.

Beach Blanket Babylon has had sold out performance every night since it started back in 1974 at the Club Fugazi. It's been there so long that Green Street in the North Beach area has been rechristened Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd. for the one block area.

Yes, there is a silly plot. Snow White (Amanda Blatchford) is in search of finding "romance" and she is aided by her Fairy Godmother (Renee Lubin). They travel from San Francisco to Rome, Paris, and South America in search of Prince Charming. Along the way, audience sees musical lampoons of celebrities that include Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Adele. Madonna is also in the group and she "flies" about the theatre like Peter Pan.

There is a great number set to the music of Les Misérables that features current political celebrities like Hillary and Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Sarah Palin, Governor Jerry Brown, and Jeb Bush (who appears as a bush singing new lyrics to Claude-Michel Schönberg's score). Of course, there are some old standbys like the Italian waitress with a gigantic pizza on her tall beehive, a bunch of prancing French poodles, Jewish dancers straight out of Fiddler on the Roof dancing to a Jewish folk tune, Oprah with three feet of books on her head, a fey King Louis all dressed up in a pink 18th-century costume and a pink wig that is a least three feet tall, and a hilarious parody of Barbra Streisand singing "People"—plus parodies of Vladimir Putin, Michele Bachmann, and Barack and Michelle Obama who sing new lyrics to "Rock Around the Clock."

Amanda Blatchford is pitch perfect as Snow White, with her Betty Boop voice singing several Disney songs. Renee Lubin rocks as the Fairy Godmother who calls Snow White "Snow Ball." The cast consisting of Kelly Brandeburg, Curt Branom, Stephen Brennan, Kirt Mills, Albert Hodge, Lauren Howard, Derek Lux, and Caitlin McGinty are all hysterical in various characters roles.

Beach Blanket Babylon runs at Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd (Green Street) San Francisco. For tickets call 415-421-4222 or on line at beachblanketbabylon.com/.


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