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Electile Dysfunction: The Kinsey Sicks for President (Because Sometimes It’s Hard Being a Republican)
Written and performed by Spencer Brown, Irwin Keller, Jeff Manabat, and Ben Schatz
At Theater J to Feb. 19
With Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful” at the drop of a straw poll, Herman Cain crooning “Imagine There’s No Pizza” at rallies, and Newt Gingrich battling Survivor for the right to fire up his crowds with “Eye of the Tiger,” musical satire is arguably in serious oversupply this primary season. But let it be said that no presidential campaign has harmonies half so close as the one with which the dragapella beauty-shop quartet Kinsey Sicks is kicking off its bid for the Republican nomination.
Make that The Kinsey Sicks LLC. Corporations being people, one was bound to run for president eventually, and the four cross-dressing satirists who make up Kinsey Sicks feel they’re just the folks to break the ice. To that end they’re belting a hawkish, hand-waving anthem “We Arm the World” to the rafters, patter-singing a sock-it-to-the-NEA ditty called “Eliminate the Schools” (to the Gilbert and Sullivan tune “Three Little Maids From School”), and bopping through a take on The Supremes’ “Love Child” that manages to link indiscretions by Strom Thurmond and the Governator to all those kids Michele Bachmann is shepherding through life.
It’s hard to say how their economic policies would play to primary crowds worried about the Great Recession, but in their rally/concert Electile Dysfunction: The Kinsey Sicks for President (Because Sometimes It’s Hard Being a Republican), they make a decently strong case that they’re the ideal candidate for those struggling through the Great Repression.
This isn’t, let’s note, just innocent political buffoonery. Often a joke that starts out mild (“The ‘moderate’ in ‘moderate Republican’ is silent…like the ‘p’ in ‘psoriasis’”) will end up having a surprisingly pointed kicker (“…or the ‘Judeo’ in ‘Judeo-Christian.’”) And when the content is less than scintillating, there’s still style to consider: Kinsey Sicks has many different modes of draggadocio on display.
Trixie (Jeff Manabat), who claims her parents immigrated from the Philippines “with just a few thousand pairs of shoes and a dream,” is the troupe’s certifiable knockout, fetching and glamorous in a satin-y red-white-and-blue evening gown. The visually more subdued Winnie (Irwin Keller), the sort of prim redhead who would once have been referred to as a “cloth-coat Republican,” gives equal time to flirting with the women out front and batting away rumors that she’s a lesbian. Bewitching in a beehive, Trampolina (Spencer Brown) channels her inner suburban soccer mom while nursing her lifelong dream to be a virgin. And Rachel (Ben Schatz) is just plain ol’ proudly trashy, nibbling away at the CheezDoodles she pulls from unlikely orifices when she’s not smiling sweetly through a Cole Porter-inspired paean to the promised rewards of jihadism (“Heaven…hymen heaven”).
At 90 intermissionless minutes, the evening has plenty of yuks, and risks wearing out its audience-participatory welcome only with a post-curtain-call anthem that is so attenuated, the poor schmo enlisted from the crowd to stand in for Rick Santorum will wish he’d never been dragged (sorry) up on stage.