EXTENDED – OPEN RUN!
By J. Scott Hill
Nerdbait. Some celebs appeal more strongly to nerds than do others — think Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science, Carrie Fisher in Star Wars, and Alyson Hannigan in everything. MsPixy (a founding member of Belmont Burlesque Revue) has courted the title of “nerdbait”, occasionally performing striptease as a hoodie-wearing dorklette. She has taken her nerd-positive Burlesque skills to new heights by writing and directing Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque, running at Gorilla Tango Theatre.
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The lovely Coo d’Twat, a fixture of the Chicago Burlesque scene, stars as Mario. She fails miserably at hiding her unfailing sexiness behind a black walrusy moustache and bulky overalls. Saving her more provocative wardrobe malfunctions for late in the show, Coo d’Twat delivers delightful camp in a glorious Italian accent that would make Chico Marx wince.
What is Mario without his brother Luigi? (I know the answer is “Jumpman,” my fellow Nintendorks. It was a rhetorical question.) This Mario has a terrific Luigi in Lily e’Claire. Fresh off the train from Champaign, Lily e’Claire holds her own engaged in witty banter with the veteran comedienne d’Twat. With her athletic figure and eye-catching moves, Lily e’Claire will soon be a fixture of the Chicago Burlesque scene herself.
The six other performers in Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque are all new to removing their clothes in public for entertainment (and maybe a few bucks). Penelope Paddedbustle’s provocative peek-a-boo Turtle getup is like a marvelous cross between a peepshow and an Advent calendar. Hazel Hellbender plays Chomper with a bondage-meets-Hogan’s Heroes sensibility that wows the crowd (I have never been so jealous of a bandolier in all my life).
The coolest new nerdbait here is Diva LaVida as Toad. Hilariously playing Toad like someone straight out of Pineapple Express, LaVida is so deep into her role and so completely entertaining that she seems to be a ringer brought in to handle the “acting.” The crowd is surprised and thrilled to see her tease her way out of her costume without dropping out of character.
With some pasties as big as coconut-shell bikini tops and panties offering much more coverage than the G-strings and merkins often worn by Burlesque dancers, Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque provides more tease than cheesecake, with a couple of eye-popping exceptions. This is a smart, funny deconstruction of the whole Mario Bros. franchise, plus dancing girls. The script is cool, the striptease is hot, and the costumes are genius. The gimmick used instead of pass-the-hat may prove to be the most ingenious and lucrative such gimmick ever.
With Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque, MsPixy has put together a late-night delight. She has molded eight performers in her own image. Give a nerd a Burlesque thrill, and they’ll squee for a day; write and direct an overture to nerds — featuring smart jokes, sharp pop-culture references, and scantily-clad beauties — and they’ll interrupt their micro-brewery crawls and Glee marathons to come see your show and stuff your “hat” with singles.
3 ½ STARS
DO NOT MISS!