Steve Murray

Performing Arts Reviews

Star Trek Live – Mudd’s Women

Star Trek Live!: Mudd’s Women
SF Oasis
Jan. 6 – Jan. 23rd, 2016

It was bound to happen sooner or later. The same producers who actualized live stage productions of popular TV sitcoms Sex and the City and Facts of Life bring the iconic groundbreaking sci-fi characters to life in this fun and silly romp. The original series debuted in 1966 and ran for three seasons on NBC, but took on a whole new life and cult status in re-runs, film adaptations and spinoffs.

This production, directed by D’Arcy Drollinger, co-owner and Artistic Director at Oasis, takes a beloved episode from one of the 79 originals and tweaks it for their target audience with not-so-subtle sexual innuendos, over-the-top campiness and lots or corn. The plot of Mudd’s Women has the crew of the USS Enterprise charmed and distracted by three erotic sirens, cargo of scoundrel Harry Mudd and a trafficker in mail-order brides. A side plot involving the purchase of much needed power crystals and the horny bachelor miners on Rigel 12 adds to the fun.

Star Trek was noted for its progressive civil rights stances and this episode delves into the image of women (sultry sexpot vs. homemaker/wives). Seems the sirens are taking a voluptuous pill called the “Venus drug” which in the end, isn’t really needed at all if the ladies can cook, clean and care for their men. It’s a little dated in its feminist tone today, but in 1966, it was ahead of its time.   All of this makes prime fodder for the cast of drag queens and kings, who re-imagine their famous characters with hilarious effect.

Leigh Crow, a knowledgeable Trekkie, has been a staple in San Francisco’s counterculture with her groundbreaking drag king creation of Elvis Herselvis and as frontwoman of the popular bubblegum preservation band The Whoa Nellies. As Captain Kirk, she has William Shatner’s overly dramatic staccato vocal and acting affectations down pat. The logical Vulcan Mr. Spock (Amber Sommerfeld), the almost unintelligible Scotty (Ms. France), the gayish Sulu (Ammo Eisu) and the sassy Lt. Uhuru (Honey Mahogany) each take their characters idiosyncrasies to exaggerated comic levels.

Jef Valentine as the siren Eve has a field day of drag silliness and is a standout. The costuming by Amie Sarazan is spot on and the set design, full of blinking lights and futuristic computers and keyboards, adds to the retro feel. It’s not exactly Shakespeare, but the audience of Trekkies and the uninitiated alike are there for a rollicking inane time and that’s exactly what they get.