Sock Puppet Showgirls

Harvey Finklestein's
Sock Puppet Showgirls
a kate west review
directed by John and Stephanie Shaterian
a West Coast Premiere
at Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd, LA 90038

contact (800) 838-2006 or
Fridays 11 p.m.; tix $15; EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 21 /

What could possibly be worse than your friend making you watch the dreadfully campy and overdone Paul Verhoven movie "Showgirls"? Secretly realizing that it's actually a good bad and that it has since gained a phenomenal cult following. And that you love it. For those of you delighting in spectacularly failed Hollywood projects, you'll WANT to see it, again - and again and again, too. And what's even better than that kind of bad? A "Showgirls" sock puppet version!

Yes, it's true, sock puppets recreate the horrendous cinematic fiasco, thanks to Harvey Finklestein's outrageous production. Directors John and Stephanie Shaterian (married, with puppets) ensure that the actors aren't the stars here, the sock puppets are. If you don't know the story, here's the synopsis direct from a show program: "An angry girl escapes to Las Vegas to become a dancer. After all the fucking and bad acting she ends up having to leave Las Vegas because she hurts a bitch and opens a can of whoop ass on a celebrity, and because she is a whore, and they don't allow whores in Las Vegas." With that enticement, how can you say no?

Dorien Davies portrays adorable sock puppet Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley in the film), the wide-eyed skank who becomes a successful dancer in Vegas and then gives it all up again. Davies has emotional and improvisational range in voice alone, matched by Lowe Taylor playing Crystal (Gina Gershon in the film), the experienced sock puppet dancer who shows Nomi the ropes, only to have her turn against her at the end. Both Davies and Taylor are in top form, strongly steering the scenes forward and improvising their little hearts out. They are truly the heart and strength of the show. You'll love Davies' plaintive wail, "I am not a whore!"

Eddie Beasley, Jonathan Caplan and Andy Wolf (this night's understudy) round out the cast just fine, playing sleazy agents, managers and even the stereotypical gay choreographer (Patrick Bristow in the film). Cardboard car cutouts and metal poles also help direct the imagination to recall the movie. Not for the faint of heart, this show goes all out, uncensored and to the raunchiest extreme: i.e. it's a late night show for a reason, no kids allowed!

It's a little surreal to see the occasional hand pop out and at the same time hilarious to watch the sock puppet dance numbers (of which there all several), although one does get weary of certain repeated humor, such as the stereotypical gay choreographer. It's a fun, short show however, and the funniest bits are hearing actual lines from the movie, written by the over-hyped screenwriter Joe Eszterhas himself. Yes, it's dumb, but really, isn't the movie is to blame for that? At least this way, we can let naked cotton puppets shock us for the evening, a definite improvement over the movie.

Don't miss the Classic Original:
Showgirls (Fully Exposed Edition)

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