Kink. Playwright: Mikala Bierma, Christina Boucher, Rachel Farmer; additional music by Bryan Dunn. At: Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway. Phone: 773-561-4665; $15. Through March 6
Glitter in the Gutter Playwright: Kellen Alexander. At: Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway
Phone: 773-561-4665; $10. Through March 11
Now at the Annoyance Theatre, two new shows promise to be a barrel of laughs and pique certain subsets within the LGTBQ community. There's a world premiere of Glitter in the Gutter that bills itself as Chicago's first drag queen sitcom. And there's the new musical Kink that features characters like a suburban married couple where the mom's a wannabe dominatrix and the dad hides his love of wearing women's underwear.
Both shows are typical Annoyance Theatre fare. But not all Annoyance shows are created equal, and one shines brighter than the other.
The real impressive news is Kink, a consistently funny and truly refreshing show in large part because all of the sexual and irreverent humor come from a nearly all-female cast and creative team.
If you thought that men only had a monopoly on creating ribald sexual comedies in the vein of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, then you must see writer/actors Mikala Bierma, Christina Boucher and Rachel Farmer's amazing quick-change work on Kink.
Under Rebecca Sohn's astute and incisive direction, Kink comments on so-called suburban sexual repression by taking on characters like speed-walking housewives ( who like to one-up each other with their questionable talk-show facts ) , probable high school lesbian sport stars and even jiving teenage boys. And what's great is these women go beyond the "I can't believe they did that!" barrier with hilarious costumes, props and bawdy song lyrics.
For example, a fellatio workshop featured the catchy song lyric, "Make that dick a fountain, Climb that BJ mountain" all the while being cleverly choreographed with two blow-up male sex dolls ( Finally! Parity for overused female sex dolls in comedy! ) .
While Kink could do with some trimming and a better-focused storyline, its current state practically guarantees to make you laugh throughout.
Laughs are to be had in Kellen Alexander's Glitter in the Gutter, but not nearly as big or with as much frequency. For a show that aims to be a "drag queen sitcom," that's a liability.
The problem is Alexander isn't clearly spoofing half-hour sitcom conventions to tell his story, nor does the show really use its drag performers to comment on those hackneyed hallmarks. There also aren't enough nasty and cutting quips from the two drag queen characters at the center of the show since Pepper LaRoo ( Seth Dodson ) and Velveeta Fitzgerald ( Wes Perry ) are both cut from the same flakey dim cloth. Only when rival Beverly Poon ( Sarah Fineout ) appears do we get banter we expect of acidic drag queens.
Glitter in the Gutter also isn't nearly as fabulous with its production elements when compared to Mid-Tangent Productions' recent Snow White spoofs at Hydrate. Alas, this show is more gutter than glitter.