Theatre Review: SIAMESE SEX SHOW Oddly Charming

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siamese-sex-show-poster{All photos by Ed Krieger}

Siamese Sex Show
W
ritten and music by John Papageorge

Directed by Kiff Scholl
Produced by The Lounge Theatre in Los Angeles
{This review has also been published on Angie’s website, Contents May Vary}

In a dystopian future, with the world run by an evil CEO bent on getting rid of intimacy and sex, who’s going to save society? Why, pop stars, of course!

So is the very basic bones of Siamese Sex Show, a new musical just coming off of workshops in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Written by tech expert and music producer John Papageorge, the musical blends pop and hip hop and includes lyrics from Kool Keith, Mistah Fab, and J Diggs. A long one act, running about 90 minutes, the show follows the designs of Monocorp and its CEO (Keith E. Wright), fresh off inventing the Love Light, a piece of technology that gives the wearer pleasure at a moment’s notice.

Erin Rye and Eddie Gutierrez
Erin Rye and Eddie Gutierrez

Of course, there’s more to it than that, and the CEO’s plans include blackmailing the pop stars that work for the company, murder, and the eventual ruling of the world. Meanwhile, in another part of town is the only place where intimacy is still allowed – an underground club called The Siamese Sex Show. As the CEO continues his plans, former employees gather to figure out a way to stop this dastardly plan, and become superheroes to save the day. It’s a commentary on our obsession with celebrities and technology, and how much influence marketing has on our lives.

Going into the production, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. The title and conceit as a ‘naughty pop musical’ told me I’d get something definitely R rated, and hopefully exploring erotic text and sexuality using music and superhero tropes. And this show definitely gets an adult rating, but it’s mostly for the language.

For a show about the need for sex and intimacy, the show is somewhat subdued. When it comes down to it, I was expecting more sex from a ‘sex show’. I was also little sad that there wasn’t at least a minor acknowledgement that you can have intimacy without sex and some asexual recognition.

Jillian Easton and Sean Leon
Jillian Easton and Sean Leon

The feminist in me can’t help but note that the show seems geared towards the male heterosexual gaze: the only time we got anything non-heterosexual on stage was in the tropey lesbian dancing by “The Board” (Dayna Alice Austin, Janelle Dote, Miki Holmes, and Alyssa Noto). In addition, while we get some minor eye candy on two of the men, the show is much more geared towards showing off our female performers bodies. (And don’t get me started on the continued use of the word ‘bitch’ to describe the women.)

The direction was weak in some areas, with the cast far too concerned about the audience way too many times. The character of the MC (Isaac Cruz) seems a bit superfluous at times, narrating the plot so far and telling us when to applaud (although for what he had to work with, Cruz did a fine job).

However, it ended up being one of those shows that I enjoyed despite its problems. The concept is ridiculous enough to where it ends up being oddly charming. The humor is punchy, and the music is an excellent mix of hip hop and pop, with songs that are powerful. And the choreography is delightfully erotic at times, strikingly powerful at others.

Eddie Gutierrez and Cloe Wyatt Taylor
Eddie Gutierrez and Cloie Wyatt Taylor

Special kudos to Eddie Gutierrez, who plays George O. Thornhill, a ‘cracker’ from the Midwest who had joined Monocorp as the new head of marketing, and ends up getting involved with the ones fighting the corporation. He plays the ‘fresh-faced kid from the country’ stereotype in a way that makes it work, and when he gets his song, he shines. A shout out as well to Erin Rye, who plays Cherry, a robot pop star that’s a clear mockery of Katy Perry and her ‘type’ of female pop stars, and makes this show seem like it’s a missing ‘adult’ episode of Jem and the Holograms.

There are also solid performances from Jillian Easton (Vivian, the CEO’s assistant – and more), Cloie Wyatt Taylor (Malika, one of the pop stars who first stumbles upon the Siamese Sex Show), Riccardo Berdini (Mr. Hadji, who does some minor magic – and has the best gag of the evening as a result), and Sean Leon (Jamal, the former rapper turned security and ‘enforcer’ for the CEO).

We all need to have a connection with people. Whether that connection comes from sex or from connecting virtually, Siamese Sex Show shows us the power of pop and working together to save us all. In the end, I walked away pleasantly delighted by it.

Siamese Sex Show opened in Los Angeles on October 7, and runs until November 13. You can hear the music over at their website, and learn more about the show over at their Facebook page. For a show titled Siamese Sex Show, it’s not exactly what you’d expect — and that’s what makes it work.

You can see more of Angie’s work (and her social media connections) over at her website.

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Angie Fiedler Sutton

Angie Fiedler Sutton is a writer, photographer, and all-round fangirl geek.

She currently lives in Los Angeles, and primarily covers geek culture, entertainment, and the performing arts. She’s been published in Den of Geek, Stage Directions, LA Weekly, The Mary Sue, and others. You can see more of her work (and her social media connections) over at her website angiefsutton.com.

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