Hilarity ensues in Joan Crawford ‘Trog!’ spoof

As drag parodies go, producer D’Arcy Drollinger and the usual team of suspects at the Oasis have the genre nailed, towering high heels, gay innuendos, slick physical comedy and all.

The latest, “TROG LIVE!” from the 1970 British sci-fi horror film “TROG!” (Joan Crawford’s last film), was written by Michael Phillis and Matthew Martin; an earlier stage version, written by Martin and Mike Finn, was produced at Theatre Rhinoceros in 2006.

Martin reprises his recurring and beloved role, seen in other parodies, as a very scary Joan Crawford, playing directly to the enraptured audience with his usual sly glances, smirks and flawless timing.

Here, Joan Crawford is the quietly menacing, narcissistic star of a horror film in which she portrays — with all her preening Joan Crawford mannerisms intact — Dr. Brockton, a self-described clinical anthropologist who goes spelunking in a nearby cave to investigate a murder.

She discovers a prehistoric troglodyte (the wonderfully acrobatic Adam Roy, with an impressive underbite and disarrayed locks), half ape and miraculously still alive after thousands of years. He also maintains a yoga practice and can juggle.

She manages to capture the humanoid missing link and lock him up in a cage in her lab for further study that she assumes will lead to fame and glory — for her. Specifically, she’s planning a full-frontal brain graft, which, of course, goes hilariously awry.

Her nemesis is a dapper but slimy former lover, Dr. Murdock (Michael Phillis, a vision of cackling, posturing evil with a pretentiously fake British accent), who wants the dangerous Trog dead.

Her dimwitted and much-abused daughter, Ann (Heklina, who, like Martin, appeared in the Theatre Rhino production), trotting around obediently in her tight miniskirt and blond bouffant wig, falls in (grossly non-platonic) love with the caveman — in the course of only two acts and a 15-minute intermission, as she points out to her mother.

When the lovers’ eyes (and other body parts) meet, we hear the romantic strains of “I Only Have Eyes for You.”

And Dr. Brockton is aided by her buffoonish, nearsighted assistant, Malcolm (the wondrously inventive clown and comic performer Sara Moore, who also doubles as a judge).

High jinks ensue.

Director Cindy Goldfield mines every possible nuance, every sight gag, every line of the witty script, for comic effect. Highly recommended to cure all ills.

Trog Live!
Presented by D’Arcy Drollinger
Where: Oasis, 298 11th St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. Fridays-Sundays; closes May 12
Tickets: $27.50 to $35
: sfoasis.com

Jean Schiffman
Published by
Jean Schiffman

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