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Schlapentickle Family
Burlesque and Revue
Parkside Lounge
August 28, 2010

Written by Eric Atiena

Photographed by Lola Bruise

 

Opposite Photo:
Lefty Lucy
as Carmen Sandiego



The love/hate relationship between family members is one of the staples of modern entertainment. From Ralph Cramden’s, “One of these days…” to Homer Simpson’s, “Why you little…” writers have spent decades breaking apart familial bonds to put together daring, irreverent comedy. When it comes to striking, dangerously funny family dysfunction, however, even Matt Groening could not have conceived of (and Fox censors never would have allowed) the sexually charged, cutting, depraved hilarity that is Schlapentickle Family Burlesque and Revue.


Marla Meringue

The show’s characters are a Fruedian wet dream from the sweet, naïve, devoted young daughter Marla (played by Marla Meringue) to the cheesy, eager to please scheister of a son Paco (played by Paco Fish.) The family matriarch, the boozy, bluesy floozy Mama Schlapentickle (Sabrina Chap) is a demanding, unforgiving disaster of a mother who splits her time between sleeping around, loving her children (not like that… well, maybe like that) and feuding with the family nanny, the daredevilish Miss Pussykatt. Dropping in for a visit for the Lower East Side performance at the Parkside Lounge was the family’s dear, quirky, freewheeling cousin, New York’s own Lefty Lucy.


Sabrina Chapman, Paco Fish and Marla Meringue



Marla’s numbers were couched in raunchy innocence with each performance seeming like a not-quite corruption of an otherwise sweet young girl. Whether during her bubble-bath themed show opener (bonus points for use of loofah) or her “homework assignment” studying Dionysus (how many places can YOU hide grapes?) she kept up a bright smile and winning, perky persona. Though she may need a bit of work on her tassel twirl she’s well served by her innate enthusiasm and bounciness and of course her beauty and girl-next-door charm.

Though he might have just returned from business school worlds away, Paco seemed more demented clown than executive – literally. His exaggerated, off-balance movements and constant mugging for the crowd recalled Charlie Chaplin (if Chaplin had a third arm hidden in his pants.) His business-suit strip tease drew catcalls and laughs in equal amounts, yet it was his juggling act-turned possessed air guitar solo that got the most applause. His wacky brand of humor kept the show nimble and fresh.


Marla Meringue


Miss Pussykat Grinder as The Nanny


Sabrina Chapman as Mama Schlapentickle

Not to be outdone Lefty Lucy injected herself into the act at points, stealing the spotlight like visiting cousins always do. Perhaps better than any performer in New York, Lefty perfectly blends sensuality and comedy into characters. Her Chiquita Banana Lady – complete with fruit cornucopia headdress – had more than a touch of Lucille Ball as an “equipment malfunction” forced her to worriedly speed up and slow down the tempo of her dance – including some of the city’s finest hips. From her facial expressions to her hand movements to her costume falling to the stage she didn’t miss a beat. Her later rendition of Carmen Sandiego may have forever ruined a childhood icon, but out of its ashes rose a stunning and memorable icon of adult-themed adulthood.

With an absentee mother it’s a wonder children such as these didn’t run completely wild (or, wilder as it were.) A look at the long-time family nanny erases all such questions of discipline. Well muscled and sporting sleeves of ink, Miss Pussykatt immediately commanded attention and seeing her roll, bare skin over broken glass, is enough to keep any audience in line. This stunt that would be terrifying to most mortals, however, was just a warm up for her. Pussykatt followed that up by bringing out the angle-grinding act that dropped jaws and entranced David Hasselhoff on America’s Got Talent. Scraping power tool on metal breast-plate (and crotch-plate) she made sparks fly in the most dangerous, seductive and electrifying way possible.

 

Paco Fish Miss Pussycat Grinder


Throughout the evening Mama Schlapentickle popped up, almost always with a fresh beer. Though her descent into drunkenness showed the least amount of skin in the performance she managed to pour out the greatest amount of talent. While her speech may have slurred her fingers never erred as she played up and down the baby grand piano. She ranged from ragtime numbers deconstructing traditional gender roles to ballads graphically detailing a long, sordid (and comedic) sexual history. As a sultry lounge songstress she recalled her failings as a parent – a live action Jessica Rabbit after a few (hundred) trips around the block. Regret oozed from the stage as she sadly and breathlessly lamented past lost love.
Each member of the family brought such a unique element to the show that the final product was a robust, full experience of lust, humor and razor sharp wit.

Schlapentickle Family Burlesque is much more than tease and sex. It’s both high and low comedy. It’s calm innocence and dark, deep, unrepentant guilt. It’s smart, raucous and absolutely entertaining.



The Family

 

 

 



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