Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Bitch Slap!
The Oasis

Also see Patrick's recent reviews of Blue Door, A Strange Loop, and Forever Plaid

J.A. Valentine, Matthew Martin, and D'Arcy Drollinger
Photo by Gooch
Here's a bit of advice: don't mess with Diana Midnight. As portrayed by fabled San Francisco drag performer/entrepreneur/writer/director D'Arcy Drollinger, Ms. Midnight–actually, MRS. Midnight, as she's married to the business tycoon Roman Midnight (Michael Phillis). But as is the case with so many tycoons, Roman has a piece on the side: beauty pageant winner Savannah White (Cheetah Biscotti). Of course, Diana hasn't been an angel herself–in fact, she's a "medically diagnosed" nymphomaniac who will hump anything on two legs. As holder of the extremely valuable patent on shoulder pads, "one of the most important fashion trends of the century," she's a savvy–even conniving–businesswoman in her own right. So when evil rival Cassandra (Katya Smirnoff-Skyy) visits Diana in her luxury mansion and threatens to expose her nymphomania diagnosis to the world unless she signs over the shoulder pad patent, Diana is ready to fight with everything she has. At least until she "accidentally" falls down the stairs. On her way to the hospital, the medevac helicopter goes down in the ocean and Diana's body is not recovered, allowing her rivals to seize her territory–and her man.

If this all sounds a bit soap opera-ish, that's because it's meant to. For Bitch Slap! (currently playing at the Oasis in San Francisco) is a satirical send-up of 1980s-era primetime soaps like Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest. It also lovingly spoofs daytime soaps, telenovelas, and pretty much anything else it can get its hands on. With ridiculous puns, vicious cat fights, snappy put-downs ("I love your outfit–I'm surprised it's lasted so many seasons."), slapstick comedy, and wigs so aggressively teased that the club's restrictions on bullying ought to be invoked, Bitch Slap! is so over the top it has escaped Earth's gravitational pull and exists in its own world of wackiness.

Bitch Slap! is two hours of bitchiness, infidelity, double (and perhaps even triple) entendres, and more insults than most comedy roasts. When Diana's mother Beverly (Matthew Martin) is called "a washed-up has-been," she snaps back "I'm THE washed-up has-been!" After Karen Sauceman (J. A. Valentine) (who just might be the birth mother of Diana's adopted, wheelchair-bound daughter) is asked politely if she's been drinking (and boy, has she!), she skips all the intermediate steps of denial and shrieks back "I'm NOT an alcoholic!"

There are many instances of this sort of off-the-wall humor, for the show is packed with them. Diana, for instance, has a lateral lisp, softening her Ss to the point that each S ends up sounding like Sh. So when Diana accuses someone of being selfish, her maid Helen instantly appears with a tray of shrimp.

The performers in Bitch Slap! revel in the fact that almost no limits have been placed on them, and each takes their role to the limits of credulity. As Roman Midnight, Michael Phillis shouts at full voice on almost every line. Matthew Martin takes Beverly in a different direction–her more relaxed approach to her signature entry line ("For heaven's sake, what's going on?" helps it stand from the rest of the ridiculous goings-on. And I mean ridiculous in the most complimentary way.

Bitch Slap! is campy, bitchy, silly fun, and will forever change (teaser alert) the way you think about the word "prune."

Bitch Slap! runs through May 18, 2024, at The Oasis, 298 11th Street, San Francisco CA. Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays with staggered entries at 7:00pm. Tickets are $35-70. For tickets and information, please visit