John Epperson, a k a Lypsinka, isn’t so much a drag artist as a channeler for nearly every camp goddess who ever strutted in spike heels. Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Mae West and lesser divas too numerous to mention, share the stage in both voice and spirit with the talented Epperson, whose new show, “Lypsinka! A Day in the Life,” continues the adventures of his neo-1950s glamour girl creation.
For the uninitiated, the gimmick here is that Epperson, costumed in one ultra-glitzy get-up after another, lip-synchs to a seamless stream of snippets from movies, television, theater, records, commercials, etc. The bits and pieces are stitched together (no small indication of Epperson’s talent) into something resembling a plot, in this case, as the title indicates, a day in the life.
Animating the heavily made-up face that is alternately mask-like and rubbery is genuine comic talent and split-second delivery that seems to owe as much to Carol Burnett as to any of the Hollywood femmes on aural display.
Included in the current production is a telephone bit that is fast becoming Epperson’s trademark, and rightly so. Juggling a cacophony of ringing phones and conversations, Epperson mimes the balancing act with the precision of a diamond cutter.
The actor has here been given a suitable production, with James Schuette’s attractive, campy sets matched spangle for spangle by Anthony Wong’s costumes, perfect to the last sequin. Mark McCullough’s lights and Randy Carfagno’s wooden cut-out puppets hit the right note.
Given all the fun and good humor of Epperson’s creation, it might seem peevish to point out that Lypsinka, however diverting, is a rather limited, one-joke affair. Perhaps this is why Epperson and director Michael Leeds keep the show to 60 minutes. At $ 32.50, one hour might seem skimpy. Any longer, though, and it’s the show that would seem slight.