Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Champagne White Is Disastrous!"

Champagne White Is Disastrous!
D’Arcy Drollinger
Steven LeMay, Adam Roy, D'Arcy Drollinger & James Arthur
Sometimes there is clearly too much of a good thing, even orgasms; and that is the worldwide crisis that Champagne White is out to solve in the latest wild and wooly chapter of D’Arcy Drollinger’s evolving serial about his drag-queen, hot babe who is sometimes exotic dancer, sometimes karate-kicking super hero.  This time her nemesis is named Trixie (after having exterminated earlier ones named Dixie and Pixie in Shit & Champagne and The Temple of Poon).  The evil sister’s ploy is to infiltrate the world’s water systems with GMO (Genetic Modified Orgasm), leaving everyone helpless and in constant sexual bliss while their bank accounts are being depleted through implanted chips.  Just as she and her gay, gay, gay pal Sergio head to Acapulco on Gate 69 on Flight 36-24-36 of Like a Virgin Airlines, a dying man hands her a brief case with the only antidote possible against GMO.  What’s a girl to do but plunge into a plot-thin, pun-packed, laugh-filled joy ride (XXX-rated, of course), this time called Champagne White Is Disastrous!

There is nothing much different in this latest chronicle of Champagne’s wacky adventure than in the past two; but that is A-OK with the howling, adoring audience packed into the Oasis nightclub setting.  (And by the way, what an audience.  There are gay boys and good ol’ boys, straights and drag queens, twinks and bears, those barely shaving yet and those hardly still walking, women in tee-heeing groups and hetero couples dressed to the nines.  This is an only-in-San-Francisco gathering, all here for the revival meeting of the Church of their St. D’Arcy.)  There is a now thrice-tried formula that is working with familiar-faced characters throwing insults and punches aplenty, appearing in and out of costumes that barely (or don’t) cover the essentials, and using every device possible to ensure the evening’s parody is as over-the-top as possible.

And tonight’s focus of farce and exaggeration -- beyond the normal post-‘70s ‘blacksploitation’ movies that in D’Arcy terms are now ‘whitesploitation,’ a mainstay of this set of Champagne chronicles – is the disaster film.  Hang on to your seats because every disaster possible is about to cross Champagne’s path -- from killer bees to a giant gator, crashing meteor to rumbling earthquake, all leading up to of course, to a ‘towering inferno.’  (Hilariously, an attempt to include a shark attack is roundly rejected by the cast; and while there is no tidal wave, there is a flood of semen.)  There are chase scenes, fights, and murders; but there are also dance lines, show girls, and spontaneous sex scenes.  About the only thing missing is the kitchen sink.

Matthew Martin & D'Arcy Drollinger
D’Arcy Drollinger is almost larger than life as the big blonde bombshell, Champagne Horowitz Jones Dickerson White.  (She leaves a lot of widowers and dead lovers – both men and women – in her path.)  He delights the audience with his deadpan humor, his outlandish insults, and his kicks that go sky-high to send foes a’flying.  His archenemy, this time named Trixie Touché, is once again the incomparable Matthew Martin.  Hissed every time she comes on stage in her now-branded satiny and tight-fitting glory (“Is there a gas leak somewhere,” she asks), cheers quickly follow from her also-adoring sea of fans.  Together, they are a bombastic pair of warring, puffy-wigged queens; and they generate raucous, near-riotous responses each time they start exchanging verbal and physical jabs (aided by cartoon-like cut-outs of “POW,” “BANG,” and “OUCH” as well as by well-timed – or miss-timed for more laughs – sound effects).

Matthew Martin, Adam Roy & James Arthur
All the rest of the familiar Champagne Chronicle crazy characters are back with their now-familiar, quirky, quacky manners and mischief.  James Arthur is Champagne’s halter-topped, ass-showing gay sidekick and confidant, Sergio.  Together they gleefully trade insults like “You’ve been on your knees more than Billy Graham” or “You’ve swallowed more seamen than the Bermuda Triangle” while also watching over each other’s shoulder’s for the next evil move by Trixie and her mongrels.  James actually doubles as one of two evil henchmen of Trixie’s, this time both as a male one and then as a pointy-breasted one – both of whom are ridiculously incompetent in carrying out their wrongdoings.  He is joined by Adam Roy as the other half of both bad boy/girl teams.  Adam is also back again as the terribly handsome police dick (i.e., detective), Jack Hammer, who has the hots for Champagne and the tool to make things happen when they ‘connect.’

Among the several roles Steven LeMay plays is a stewardess friend, then lover, then just pain-in-the-neck of Champagne’s named Sharon (and don’t call her ‘Shirley’).  Her fate in befriending Champagne is that all the disasters have her as the center target, and Steven plays that to the hilt as it appears his face and cheeks swell with each pounding by meteor or falling timber.  Steven LeMay is actually the highlight of the night with his cross-eyed, dingbat expressions and continuous returns from what appears to be fatal encounters.

And no Champagne White episode would be complete without Debbie, the ho-hum, gum-smacking, anorexic-looking babe in her spattering of patriotic rags that slightly and tightly cover most of what they are supposed to.  Nancy French as Debbie saunters slowly onto the stage between each scene, bored to tears as she announces the next scene, always threatening to come down and sleazily lap-dance on some poor audience victim’s lap or to flip an extracted band-aide onto someone on the first row.  Nancy is a crowd favorite and seems very close to becoming her own franchise of dolls, fashion, and videos.  She also enters into a number of Disastrous scenes as other, equally funny, even glamorous roles.

Richard Neveu is playing a bigger and bigger part of these Champagne adventures through his contribution of video segments where much action takes place in the out-of-doors, skies, and underwater.  The quality is superb, and the humor extracted is huge.  Characters on the stage are suddenly on screen, where all sorts of mayhem occur before they reappear, often in changed states due to the film’s just-completed sequence of events.

Ashley Garlick has more than done her share to draw laughs and applause through her outrageous creations of costumes – and there are A LOT of costumes and changes (often performed in seconds) in the two hours of this staging.  Leonardo Hildago has designed lighting that zeros in on all the shenanigans in just the right moments, while Sarah Phykitt’s simple set design is just enough to give plenty of room for the pushing, shoving, diving, and flying that occurs in most of the scenes. 

An ingenuous addition by Director Drollinger to this episode is the inclusion of two puppeteers, dressed head to toe in a black sock, who insure a dagger flies to its intended target, the sought-after brief case twists and turns as it is tossed from one person to the next, and Champagne somehow is lifted (barely, even by two brawny guys in black) into the air for dramatic dance effect.

Champagne White Is Disastrous! is a hoot and a holler.  There is nothing redeeming in social value about it, and that is just fine.  Once again, Oasis is bringing to the San Francisco scene a way to escape all troubles for a couple of hours in a community of people and in a City like nowhere else in the world.

Rating: 4 E

Champagne White Is Disastrous! continues Thursdays – Saturdays, 7 p.m. at Oasis, 298 11th Street, San Francisco, through September 17, 2016.  Tickets are available at or by calling the box office at 415-795-3180.

Photos by Gareth Gooch

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