Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


Flim-Flam
Theatre Rhinoceros
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of Ideation and Christopher Nelson: Quiet Please, There's a Lady on Stage and Patrick's reviews of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Bus Stop


Donald Currie, Joe Tally, John Fisher, Daniel Chung,
and Krystle Piamonte

Photo by David Wilson
In its 39th season, Theatre Rhinoceros, the nation's longest running LGBT theatre, is presenting the world premiere of John Fisher's biting satirical comedy Flim-Flam, subtitled A Comedy of Thespians. Fisher also directs and stars in this sardonic dark comedy. (The play is not to be confused with the film The Flim-Flam Man that starred George C. Scott). John Fisher has been around the theatre scene since 1995 with his Joy of Gay Sex, Medea the Musical, and The Battle of Midway!. These are mostly over the top campy productions, as is this one.

Three unemployed actors, Aaron (John Fisher), Endin (Daniel Chung) and Dobbins Del Rey (Donald Currie), enter into an agreement to film an independent movie directed by Harribal (Kevin Copps) who is like Sam Peckinpah, director of such realistic action hits as the The Wild Bunch. Endin is decoyed into performing in porn video. To make matters worse, Endin and his companions are not paid for their work on the film.

Dobbins convinces them that there's work in small-town America where there is no live theatre, so the three actors take a road trip to Trump country. They end up in Hollister, California, and put on shows at the Beaver Theatre. Along the way on a bus they encounter highway ruffians and they pelt them with baby bundt cakes from Zabars. They offend politically correct youth and all the "crazies" in America. They put on slapdash productions of Shakespeare's Henry V and even Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with young actors played by Jesse Vaughn and Krystle Piamonte. They even sing snippets from successful musicals at a bar called The Hollister Hole.

Flim-Flam is a one act farce on the order of a Marx Brothers or Mel Brooks film. At one hour and forty minutes with no intermission, it could be cut to about 70 minutes. There are some exaggeratedly bizarre scenes and too-silly situations, but also some gem lines on Trump's weird idea of America.

John Fisher's directs like an Energizer bunny and this is one of campiest show I have seen in ages. Fisher's acting is energy-driven and hilarious. Donald Currie as the practical character gives a splendid performance. Donald Chung as the young actor/porn star gives a grand performance as does Jesse Vaughn in many roles, especially his Henry V. Kevin Copps is outstanding as Harribal and the patrolman who owns everything in Hollister. Rounding out the cast is Krystle Piamonte who gives an excellent performance in several roles.

Bottom Line: Flim-Flam is a sardonic farce in which Trumpisms abound that needs to be cut down to about 70 minutes. It's for the young at heart and I happen to be young at heart.

Flim-Flam runs through March 18th, 2017, at the Eureka Theatre 215 Jackson Street, San Francisco. Tickets can be obtained by calling 800-838-3006 or visiting www.theatrehino.org Their next production is the musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert starting on May 27 and running through July 2.


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