Thursday, March 7, 2013

Debbie Does Dallas: Only the good parts (part two, the review).

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 12:42 PM

"Even if blondes are more fun you're also some kind of joke" — from the song "Where are You Bambi Woods."

Claire Hayner
  • Claire Hayner
After all the fuss made over the gay interracial kiss in Six Degrees of Separation at Theatre Memphis I wasn't sure how to feel when the Circuit Playhouse production of Debbie Does Dallas got a standing ovation from a matinee audience comprised of so many older patrons who winced at the raunch while howling with laughter.

Giggling little old ladies hit their guffawing husbands with their purses while a cast of sweet, scantily-clad young ladies tastefully simulated all sorts of sex acts. It was a blast. But also a little uncomfortable.

Maybe it's just the difference between Midtown and East Memphis. Or maybe Jesus loves crazy hot white girls putting out to make that dolla in a way he can never love a black and white man mugging down. Or maybe it's both of those things, and the whole point of the musical adaptation of Debbie Does Dallas.

As pornos go, D3 is iconic. It feels strange to type that. It's a badly acted tale of teenagers whoring their way to Dallas to become professional cheerleaders and make $15 a game, and it largely erases the line between exploitation and prostitution. It became a gateway vice, and practically a right of passage for young men coming of age in the 80's. (Heh, I said "coming.")

What does it say that we can market a product this degrading to women almost entirely on nostalgia for something like that?

Brains are sexy and Director Courtney Oliver was clearly robbed by the Memphis Flyer's Hotties committee. Her breezily self-aware romp through the icky side of male sexual fantasy is smart stuff.

Forget Bambi Woods. Cassie Thompson is a walking talking Barbie doll with a real gift for screwball comedy, and she does Debbie right. Thompson is joined by a fearless cast that the old burlesque emcee who lives inside of me wants to describe as "a veritable cornucopia of feminine pulchritude": Bussy Gower, Lindsey Roberts, Claire Hayner, and Eileen Peterson.

As the show's woodsmen Nick Lerew, Cary Vaughn, and Richie MacLeod also take care of business.

Cassie Thompson does Debbie right
  • Cassie Thompson does Debbie right

Even at 70-minutes the material feels stretched like the fabric in all those skimpy costumes. Not that I'm complaining about anything.

Ticket info.

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