By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Leave the tent and bug spray at home; there's a better camp already set up at Miami Light Project Light Box Studio. The theater is now hosting two one-acts written by William Busch, an off-Broadway cult figure known for his high-camp style, and cleverly directed by Heath Kelts. Sleeping Beauty or Coma is set in the Sixties and depicts the world of high-fashion design from the point of view of peon-turned-fashion-model Tracy (Heather Gallagher). Vampire Lesbians of Sodom is an epic that travels from ancient Sodom to present-day Las Vegas and traces the ongoing rivalry between two bloodthirsty vamps, Madelaine Astarte (Diane Batista) and La Condesa (Annemaria Rajala).
This show is camp central with its absurd plots, bawdy physicality, and eclectic music track. Busch hilariously and smartly writes these scripts with allusions to everyone from Judy Garland to Olivia Newton-John, and the cast is energetic, spontaneous, and funny. There's not a weak link in the bunch, but there are a couple of standouts. Batista as diva Madelaine Astarte has the vamp vibe down pat in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. Posing as a Vegas cabaret star, Astarte and her dancers (Danny Rincones, Jonathon Lolley, and David Fink) perform a lip-synched rendition of Cher's "Dark Lady" that brings down the house.
Many of these cast members are making their professional debut, and several are students at New World School of the Arts -- an excellent example of the tremendous local talent we have right here in South Florida. These are sure to be some of the faces and names on future playbills at larger local theaters. Audiences who have been staring at the tragedy mask too long need to head over to the Light Box for a good laugh. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a kind of theater we don't get a lot of in these parts: glib, outrageous, and over the top.