Review: ‘Brides of the Moon’

New York's Five Lesbian Brothers are back in San Francisco, and their latest show testifies to an inspired pulp-satiric ethos. "Brides of the Moon" is hardly their most coherent or pointed show, but it's often hilarious nonetheless.

New York’s Five Lesbian Brothers are back in San Francisco, and their latest show testifies to an inspired pulp-satiric ethos. “Brides of the Moon” is hardly their most coherent or pointed show, but it’s often hilarious nonetheless. S.F. has been lucky enough to host all of the Brothers’ plays for progressively longer stints. Arguably, this troupe has not yet matched its exhilarating first effort, “Voyage Into Lesbos” (a sort of lesbian “Beach Party”), but “Brides” hews close to that piece’s pop-cultural mind-set.

The collectively written show, directed by Kate Stafford, has some pacing problems and ideas that go nowhere, but its Z-grade, sci-fi concept travels far. It’s the future, and technological progress has done precious little to eradicate the pervasive stupidity of humankind. Thus an all-woman team is flying a rocket ship to join men at a deep-space resort center, their mission clear: so much training just to become interplanetary comfort-girls.

Airheaded blond teacher-civilian Bridget MacKinney (Babs Davy) anticipates her heterosexual duty with pride. More ambiguous are the feelings of no-nonsense ship commander Tylie (Dominique Dibbell), butch cosmonaut Slotya (Lisa Kron), and Gallic astronaut/spokesmodel Gabrielle (Maureen Angelos). Also along for the ride is lab-experiment monkey Dal Dal (Peg Healey, whose simian act nearly steals the show).

Needless to say, complications arise. The women soon discover they’ve been secretly plugged with Sex Drive Implant microchips that twice daily turn them into raving horndoggies (a situation not unwelcome by all). A more serious crisis ensues when floating debris disables their spacecraft. As air supply runs out (periodic heavy panting doesn’t help), the women appear doomed.

Enter a very dysfunctional Ohio family that receives the crew’s frantic communiques via a broken microwave oven. A grounded femme astronaut shows up too. Our drifting heroines may be saved after all.

There are clever bits of pop-culture satire, but the latter sequences are Earth-bound in more ways than one: The writing is sloppier, the character relations more ponderous. By contrast, “Brides” flies in the cosmos, milking sci-fi and sex-comedy cliches with loving care, cheesy special effects and 1970s rock standards. This show is senseless even beyond the call of Z-movie parody, but when it works, the Five Lesbian Brothers reassert themselves as expert satirists.

Brides of the Moon

Theater Rhino, San Francisco; 112 seats; $20 top

Production

A Theater Rhinoceros presentation of a play in two acts by the Five Lesbian Brothers. Directed by Kate Stafford.

Creative

Set, Nancy Bardawil. Costumes, Kristine Woods; lighting, Lori E. Seid; sound, Carmen Borgia, Peg Healey; production stage manager, Janet Clark. Artistic director, Adele Prandini. Opened Nov. 9, 1996. Reviewed Nov. 10. Running time: 2 HOURS, 5 MIN.

Cast

Cast: Maureen Angelos (Lynn Stone/Gabrielle Bichon-Frisse), Babs Davy (Bridget MacKinney/Ken Powers), Dominique Dibbell (Tylie Holway), Peg Healey (Mrs. Steve Powers/Dal Dal), Lisa Kron (Carmen Powers/Slotya Rimjobovich).
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