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Thrillpeddlers’ cabaret is like no other

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Bruna Palmeiro plays a beleaguered cow in 1920s Germany in a “cabaret musical fantasy” staged by Thrillpeddlers. (Courtesy David Allen)

It’s not every day one sees a cow being defiled by a gang of delinquents, but it happens in “The Untamed Stage: Weimar Berlin Kabarett,” a new musical presented by Thrillpeddlers in their cozy under-the-freeway Hypnodrome theater on Tenth Street in The City.

Like all shows by this fun and crazy troupe, it musically covers life’s major themes: sex (lots of it, many kinds, with genders mixing liberally), politics, science and history.

This time, the setting is 1920s Berlin, a time of creativity and experimentation in Germany.

Composer-lyricist-creator-piano accompanist Scrumbly Koldewyn wrote two dozen catchy tunes in the style of the era, which a cast of 17 directed by Russell Blackwood (and a wildly inventive stage and costume crew) bring to life with boldness, sass and panache.

The production’s first half is a Kit Kat Klub-like variety show, overseen by Zelda Koznofski, who kicks things off with the rousing “Ich Bin Ein Berliner.”

Decked out in glitter, boas, sparkles or outfits that casually show off private parts, members of the ensemble (in groups or solo) sing songs celebrating naughtiness and freedom: “No One is Looking,” “Having Fun Tonight” or “Too Decadent for You.”

In “Dance of the Exhibitionists,” three flashers disguised in hats, glasses and raincoats do their stuff.

A vaudeville sketch has Italian puppeteers using kitchen utensils to probe a larger-than life sex doll.

Diogo Zavadski, wearing a sparkling gold gown with a plunging back line revealing a derriere, offers “No No Nola,” while John Flaw is the devil and Bruna Palmeiro is a nude exotic dancer in “I Just Give ‘Em What They Want.”

Palmeiro comes back in the show’s second half, giving heart and soul to the aforementioned cow, whose udder undergoes a radical transformation at the hands of a rude scientist and Nazi-like “Brownshorts.”

Aptly titled, Act 2 is “The German Thing to Do — or How a Cow Changes History: A Kabarett Musical Fantasy.”

The cow’s fortune is tied to the fate of two brothers whose paths diverge in the outrageous tale, in which myriad sex acts (some abusive) are ultimately outweighed by good cheer and a rousing closing number celebrating individuals and humanity.

REVIEW
The Untamed Stage
Presented by Thrillpeddlers
Where: Hypnodrome, 575 10th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, through May 28
Tickets: $30 to $35
Contact: (415) 377-4202, www.hypnodrome.org

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