THE BOSS IN THE SATIN KIMONO
nytheatre.com review by Josh Sherman
August 10, 2008
Now who among us doesn't love a good musical about whores and nuns? Certainly the folks at Fabulous Productions do—and they deliver a deliciously crass, raucously fun time with the fluffy tuner The Boss in the Satin Kimono. Like an ideal summer drink, the show washes down easily and probably won't give you too much of a headache the morning after, provided you don't over-think details like meaningful exposition. The Boss in the Satin Kimono delights in its trashy appeal, and its gay-friendly approach will surely attract a sassy fun audience for the rest of its run.
Our heroine, Lady Maybelline Jones (played with Mae West aplomb by the brassy Erin Buckley) is in financial distress. Her brothel has been whittled down to one lonely whore/housekeeper, her Latina maid Jacinta (hammed up by Kyla Garcia), and they are about to be evicted from their "ecumenical clinic for men in need." Salvation comes from the nearby convent, where Mother Marcus (Jim Noonan, in comical drag) and young nun Sue (Emily Senn) have also been evicted by their local Catholic bishop for Marcus's underage "indiscretions." They proceed to open up a soup kitchen in the brothel to provide shelter for all involved, and musical theatre hilarity ensues. The purely incidental plot thickens with the introduction of the local villainous do-gooder Renata St. James (Emily Dorsch), who sends meek social worker Ronda Marquez (Jody Cook, in serious drag) over to close the soup kitchen/brothel.
All of this is an excuse to poke fun at prostitution and Catholicism through lewd cabaret-style song stylings. The most satisfying laughs are had through the recurring number called "Tapestries of Joy," sung by Mother Marcus, who keeps luring the not-so-innocent cast members into her/his lascivious bosom through weaving. I give the co-creators Blake Hackler (book, lyrics, and music), Steve Silverstein (music), and Paul Ford (music) all the credit in the world for creating perhaps the strangest seduction device I've seen on stage. I also give them ample credit for giving Ronda an eleven o'clock barn-burner of a number, replete with a backline tap extravaganza with the whole company.
The Boss in the Satin Kimono is frothy, filthy fun that is definitely not for the FringeJR set. Director Susanna Gilbert is blessed with a great cast that embues the piece with flair to spare and a ton of energy. Check your good taste at the door and have a delightfully tacky time at The Boss in the Satin Kimono.