Valerie Canon, Susan Crocker & Vulva Savannah
in Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens. Photo-Emily Browne
Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens
Book and Lyrics by Charlotte Mann and Michael Fidler
Music by Jonathan Croose and Robin Forrest
Directed by Joey Arena
Review by Craig Nolan Highley
Entire contents are copyright © 2014, Craig Nolan Highley. All rights reserved.
The Alley Theater is always hit-or-miss with me. When they are on, they are on fire. When they are off, it can be disastrous. I’ve been to many of their shows in the past few years; I thought their production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch was better than the one at Actors’ Theater. Their Sweeney Todd knocked it out of the park. Their Point Break Live! was nothing short of brilliant for what it was. And most recently, The Ballad of the Night Moose provided dumb, goofy fun.
But they’ve had their share of duds as well; for every brilliantly done Evil Dead: The Musical, there is a bloated, over baked misfire like Bat-Hamlet. So when I read the title of their latest production, I braced myself.
I am happy to say that Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is not only a good show, it’s by far the best thing they have done in their new location. In fact, it’s arguably the best production they have provided since their early work. A silly but enjoyably campy story, a solid cast of performers, brilliant comedy and sight gags, and songs that stay with you long after you’ve left the theater. What more can you ask for?
The story takes place in a sleazy nightclub on a sleazy planet somewhere in the universe. It’s run by the shady proprietor Saucy Jack (Scott Goodman, in fine form), with help from cocktail waitress Booby Shevalle (Harrison Coffman, convincing in plain-girl drag) and bartender-with-a-secret-fetish Mitch Maypole (J.P. Lebangood). There is also Sammy Sax (Daniel Smith, playing wonderfully against type) a musician yearning to break free and make the big time. While a barfly psychoanalyst (Rick O’Daniel-Munger) narrates the story, a serial killer has been preying on the club’s performers, drawing the attention of those defenders of the galaxy, The Space Vixens (Susan Crocker, Valerie Canon, and “Vulva Savannah” in all their ABBA glory).
Old lovers are reunited, new romances are forged, a few murders take place, and eventually a killer is brought to justice. All of it with tongue planted squarely in cheek and with some truly great songs to keep you from taking any of it too seriously.
Director Joey Arena has done a remarkable job of staging such a heavily sci-fi production in the small staging area at the Alley, and makes great use of the space. With the cocktail tables added in front of the normal seating area, and the way the performers interact with the audience, it is sometimes hard to tell where the play stops and the audience starts!
The opening night performance I attended also featured a fun introductory magic act by “Darshwood the Conjurer”, but I’m told the opening acts will vary by performance.
This really is a great production and perfectly suited to an audience attuned to the popular culture. If you have kids, be warned there is a lot of adult material on display but it never gets truly explicit; they’ve undoubtedly seen more on broadcast TV.
And always remember, “Glitter Boots saved my life!”
Featuring Valerie Canon, Harrison Coffman, Susan Crocker, Scott Goodman, J.P. Lebangood, Rick O’Daniel-Munger, “Vulva Savannah”, Daniel Smith, and Marcy Zeigler.
Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens
April 25 – May 17, 2014
The Alley Theater
633 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202