Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

Marga Gomez's The Twelve Days of Cochina is Down and Dirty

Also see Richard's reviews of Tartuffe, Reckless and Ice Glen

Marga Gomez
Extraordinary entertainer Marga Gomez brings back The Twelve Days of Cochina with updated material to the Theatre Rhinoceros through December 18th. The 2001 world premiere of this production enjoyed sold-out performances for the theater company. The San Francisco Chronicle called it a "side splittingly nasty" production.

John Fisher is currently helming this fast-paced and tight 90-minute production. Lesbian icon Marga centers this production on the an adult version of A Christmas Carol. She mixes the holiday classic with the silliest smut, bordering on an R or X rating. This is not a show for uptight maiden aunts who love The Sound of Music, and not a show for Tiny Tim.

Marga opens the evening explaining the word "cochina." She tells the audience that if any are studying Spanish, they might think the work is Spanish for "kitchen," but the word means "filthy pig." She describes her Christmas past when her tîa (Spanish for "aunt") traumatized her about the world being a dirty place. She takes the role of the maiden aunt, wrapped in black widow lace and telling her not to touch anything outside of the house. She says only cochinas play outside the house. The aunt gives the same type black widow lace as a Christmas gift and tells her to stay in the house and pray.

Marga plays herself in the present waiting for her lesbian lover to return home for Christmas Eve. Apparently the poor girl has had no sex for many a moon and she is anxiously awaiting this night of nights. She even maxed out her credits card for Christmas sex. To make matters worse, she sold one of her kidneys so she could give her other half very expensive gifts. While waiting for her lover, Marga has fantasy dreams in an overabundance of various scenes, such as an X-rated chart showing Al Gore's Powerpoint presentation on global warming that includes the melting of "Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman." There is a dream sequence about a frigid woman in front of the House of Representatives to block sexual activities on the part of every male and female in the country (the House gives her "billions and billions of dollars"). During this sequence there is a very crude puppet show about the Bush family on their Crawford, Texas ranch that I found very offensive.

Ms. Gomez goes into the future and her now dead tîa (in the form of a skeleton high above the left side of the stage) shows a dead world without sex. Marga wakes up in the present and realizes that her lesbian lover has been fooling around with everyone but her. She bounces back and sings an X-rated version of "Winter Wonderland."

The Twelve Days of Cochina has many hilarious scenes, while some are just mildly amusing. Some go on much too long, such as one about her spicy childhood fling with a hobbyhorse. Marga Gomez's timing is impeccable and her aim is lethal. The svelte entertainer has a wonderful mobile face and limber body as she jumps about the stage with her audacious type of humor.

The Twelve Days of Cochina runs through December 18th at the Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th, (Mission/South Van Ness) San Francisco. For tickets, call 415-861-5079 or visit

Photo: David Wilson

Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema

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