Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens is triumphantly everything you wouldn't expect in the Charleston theatre. What If? Productions, a theatre company that prides itself on doing obscure and under-produced shows, transforms the American Theater — yes, that old timey looking theater on King frequently used for weddings — into the slimy Saucy Jack's Cabaret. This proves to not only be a very innovative and creative choice for a place to house the campy musical, but also a very successful one. The play needs this full-on cabaret style theatre to work on the level it does.
If you're expecting a traditional theatrical experience where the audience merely plays a role as an uninvolved observer, this isn't the play for you. From the moment you enter, you'll be approached by cast members in full flamboyant costume ready to give drink suggestions from the bar and other tidbits about your journey ahead. By the end of show, they'll be pulling you out of your seats to dance to the bouncy reprise of "Glitter Boots Saved My Life," whether you want to or not.
The play's setting is ambiguous; it definitely takes place long in the future, likely on another planet. The plot isn't much clearer either. Multiple employees at Saucy Jack's Cabaret have been viciously murdered, and the Space Vixens, a group of futuristic Charlie's Angels-like women drenched in glitter and ready to save the day, arrive to pin down the killer. However, the whole thing seems to really be just one big sexual innuendo, but there's also lots of glitter and fun too. Basically, if Rocky Horror Show and Cabaret had a child out of wedlock, conceived on Mars, it would probably look something like Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens.
The cast is superb. Brian J. Porter plays a very saucy Saucy Jack. He's probably the most complex character in the play, and he's not easy to figure out in the best way. The three Space Vixens, played by Allison Arvay, Prentice Clark, and Sarah Coe are all on par as well. One of the most memorable moments occurs when they arrive at Saucy Jack's and belt out "Glitter Boots Saved My Life" for the first time. Not only do these women clearly have what it takes to protect the universe, but they also have stellar voices to match. Also notably is Booby Shevalle, one of Saucy Jack's performers, played by Anthony Masarotto. It's not clear if the character is supposed to actually be a woman or a man in drag, but either way is believable with Masarotto's perfect physical embodiment of the role. All of Booby's lines are cute and hilarious, and you genuinely feel like you might miss her after the show ends.
The bottom line is that this is a must-see for any theatergoer who is ready to finally see something truly out of the norm for Charleston. It may not change your life in a deep way, but it will make you appreciate where theatre may be heading around here. But be aware: the catchy tune "Glitter Boots Saved My Life" will be ringing in your head for days to come.
If you're not into the football, commercial-watching frenzy of Super Bowl Sunday, What If is offering a special — $15 tickets for tonight's performance. Enter DISCOBOWL promotion code at brown paper tickets.