The Performant: Sexcapades, no ice

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"SPANK!" and "Sex and the City: Live!" heat things up a little

The Regency Ballroom is awash in estrogen and vodka martinis, overrun by neatly-coifed former sorority sisters sheathed in tasteful rayon suits and drop earrings. The few men in attendance fall into two distinct camps—balding bruisers wrestled into button-down shirts, and fidgety-looking younger men who know they have just been dragged into the theatrical equivalent of a chick flick. One only hopes that a reciprocal arrangement involving the Super Bowl or some racy bedroom activity was reached earlier on, the latter being the most appropriate to the occasion -- an evening of E.L. James-inspired comedy, “SPANK! The Fifty Shades parody.”

Apparently not to be confused with “50 Shades! The Musical,” nor “Fifty Shades of Grey: a XXX Adaptation,” “Spank!” bills itself as a musical review, and features just three performers as writer E.B. Janet (Amanda Barker), “smoldering” anti-hero Hugh Hanson (Drew Moerlein) and the painfully two-dimensional ingénue Tasha Woode (Michelle Vezilj).

As Soft Cell blares from the Regency’s imposing bank of speakers stage fog begins to drift across the stage and Moerlein bursts through the giant red curtains, gyrating to the music with the practiced wink-and-nudge finesse of a Chippendale. Eventually the two others join him, Vezilj dancing, and Barker drinking Chardonnay from a giant wineglass, her constant companion. Barker is our narrator and guide into the world of grey we are about to descend into.

She’s also about the best thing in the play -- with a flirty dirty attitude and brazen laugh, she controls the stage far better than the supposedly dominant Moerlein, whose “dark” character is likened multiple times to that of Batman, but whose goofy antics including a pitch-perfect Gilbert and Sullivan song, instead bring the Tick to mind. He does get a moment where he strips all the way down to his Wonderoos, by far the raciest vignette in the otherwise bare-bones, vanilla-beige show, which still appears to satisfy its target oddience, who laugh at all the appropriate moments and even inject their own humor into the event during the potentially-awkward participatory bits, ring-led by Vezilj. And isn’t it the potentially-awkward participatory bits what we remember most in life? In love?

Speaking of bits, fan favorite, live action glamour-com “Sex and the City: Live!” is staging a revival down at Rebel, with all-new episodes and plenty of costume changes for all you drag-fashionistas. Dragonistas.

Starring the redoubtable Heklina as Carrie, Lady Bear as Miranda, Trixie Carr as Charlotte, and D’Arcy Drollinger as the best-known cougar since Mrs. Robinson, Samantha, the “Sex” crew promises to be as racy and raucous (if not more so) as the televised version. “Airing” on hump day Wednesdays, at both 7 and 9 p.m. each performance features two episodes, highlighting themes of promiscuity, dirty talk, romantical quandaries, and expensive shoes, a campy cocktail of fun escapism to get you through the week. And for the risk-adverse, fear not, the only participation the “Sex” ladies demand of you is laughter. Now that’s hot!

Sex and the City: Live!, open-ended run
7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Rebel
1760 Market, SF
$20
www.trannyshack.com

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