COURTESY PHOTORinabeth Apostol and David Naughton are good in FOGG Theatre’s lively musical  “The Cable Car Nymphomaniac” at  Z Below.

COURTESY PHOTORinabeth Apostol and David Naughton are good in FOGG Theatre’s lively musical “The Cable Car Nymphomaniac” at Z Below.

‘Nymphomaniac’ a great virgin flight for FOGG Theatre

Leave your snickers at home and catch a smart, sassy ride with “The Cable Car Nymphomaniac” at Z Below in the Mission.

It’s based on an “only in San Francisco” true story – a woman sued Muni claiming a bump on the noggin during a 1964 cable car accident unleashed an insatiable sexual appetite that pretty much ruined her life – but only nominally. However, instead of a salaciously camp peep show with catchy tunes, this virgin flight of FOGG Theatre offers a strong but not preachy rumination on female sexuality … with catchy tunes.

The tunes are courtesy of Tony Asaro, who also co-founded FOGG with Carey McCray, who appears in the production, and Aimee Miles. As lyricist, Asaro has a rich “inner ear” that taps into the feelings of the characters and deftly translates those emotional vibrations into compelling words that land gracefully in his pleasing compositions.

Librettist Kristen Guenther has cleverly repositioned Gloria, the titular nymphomaniac, from protagonist to catalyst, allowing the character of Bryce, repressed wife of Gloria’s attorney Bruce, to drive the action. The result is a satisfying character arc suggestive of early Mary Ann Singleton (“Tales of the City”) evolving to late Diana Goodman (“Next to Normal”).

It’s an across-the-boards success for the mighty cast of seven. Rinabeth Apostol is a knowing Gloria, working the power of a newfound libido and her effect on others but clearly fighting the loss of her identity in the process.

Handsome, angular David Naughton is allowed a playful side in the clever “Bruce Needs His Bryce” before he lawyers up into a repressed, intolerant philanderer. As Esther, his partner in infidelity, McCray is his masterfully droll comic foil. Courtney Merrell soars vocally and brings Bryce from naive, self-doubting waif to a woman on the verge of liberation.

As the chorus of three playing dozens of characters, Steven Ennis, Hayley Lovgren and Alex Rodriguez seem to have an inexhaustible number of voices, poses and other tricks up their frequently gender-bending sleeves. Special applause must be given to Rodriguez who truly excels at both ends of the spectrum in a pair of solos playing a bitchy neighbor selling her “Plasticware” followed by the heated instructor of a “Tango Class.”

Director-choreographer Terry Berliner sets an effervescent but intelligent tone throughout and music director Robert Michael Moreno keeps the intimate space nicely balanced between singers and the five-piece band.

It’s also a great looking show, with clever costumes by Wes Crain and a nicely stylized yet versatile set that keeps the cable car ever present during this happy, bouncy ride.

REVIEW

The Cable Car Nymphomaniac

Presented by FOGG Theatre

Where: Z Below, 470 Florida St., S.F.

When: Most Wednesdays-Sundays; extended through Feb. 8

Tickets: $30

Contact: (866) 811-4111, www.foggtheatre.org

artsCable Car NymphomaniacFOGG TheatreTony Asaro

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors victims of police killings

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

Kiana Williams
Stanford’s Kiana Williams drafted by WNBA champion Seattle Storm

Kiana Williams is going from one championship team to another. A senior… Continue reading

Talika Fletcher, sister of Roger Allen, is consoled at a vigil to honor her brother, who was killed by Daly City Police on April 7, on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supporters march for SF man killed by Daly City police

Struggle over fake gun ends in shooting of 44-year-old Roger Allen, DA says

Syd Mandelbaum created the home run tracker, which revolutionized statistics in major league sports. (Courtesy photo)
Home run tracker, with roots at Candlestick Park, marks 30 years

When Giants first baseman Brandon Belt slugged a solo home run in… Continue reading

Most Read