Hats Off ... No, "Hats On" at Beach Blanket Babylon!
What do President Bush, Mr. Peanut, and the Village People have in common? They are all hilariously spoofed in the outrageously camp musical revue - Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon . This wonderful and zany San Francisco cabaret show is world famous for its extravagant costumes and outlandishly big hats.
I saw it a year ago, but when I went back to the marvelous City by the Bay last month, I simply had to see it again. I'm not the only one who returns for the laughs and fun. Many in the audience that night were "repeaters" or friends of people who recommended the show to them. Even Britain's Royal Family has succumbed to its charms. The Queen of England and Prince Phillip saw it in 1983, and just a few months ago Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall went and joined the cast for the Curtain Call!
And just like Charles, Camilla, and me - you are in for a Royal treat every time you go. While the show has been running for over 30 years, it is revised frequently, sometimes even weekly, to reflect current events and pop culture.
The loose plot revolves around Snow White's quest for a boyfriend. Her search is accompanied by topical parodies of music from the 60s and 70s. On her way, she encounters everyone from Bill and Hilary Clinton, Paris Hilton, Kirstie Alley, Madonna, Condoleeza Rice, John Travolta, Elvis Presley, Demi & Ashton, and anyone who's been in the news lately.
The multi-talented cast is headed by Val Diamond, who has spent 27 years with Beach Blanket Babylon . Her powerful presence, strong voice, and perfect comedy timing keep the audience roaring whenever she's on stage.
The outstanding costuming of "BBB" goes to new heights with its hats. Almost like characters themselves, the hats are exceptionally funny and magnificently constructed. Among the biggest hats on any stage anywhere, some weigh up to 300 lbs.
Tina Turner's layered hair is 4 ft. high; Oprah has a book emerging from her structured hairstyle. One of the favorites is the hat of the San Francisco Skyline. Another towering millinery treat comes at the end of the show when Snow White finally finds her man. Her guide, Val, comes out sporting a huge Wedding Cake Headdress that opens up and reveals.... oops, sorry, can't tell you everything - you'll have to go see it to find out!
It all takes place at Club Fugazi, a 393-seat theater located in the North Beach district on a street aptly named "Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard!" You can order drinks before the show, but you don't need libations to keep you smiling, laughing, and feeling good all night!
Reviewed by Marilyn Anderson
Beach Blanket Babylon -
678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd at Columbus