The Wrong Show: Trigger Happy

cabaret & variety · victory variety hour · Ages 18+ · United States of America

includes nudity
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Review by ERIK BLAIR

June 24, 2016 certified reviewer

What I liked

The Talent: “Actor” isn’t quite the term for the people on the stage for this show—not because they AREN’T actors. Every single one of them most definitely is. But because they are also individuals with clear and specific talents—some obvious, some less so—that they’re choosing to show the audience during the show. That takes a specific caliber of performer and I think it’s worth pointing out.

The Theme: While I don’t think I was personally triggered at any point (the closest I personally got was blunted because I also happen to have been a life-long John Waters fan), I can most definitely appreciate that IDEA behind this show. In fact, when I first suggested to some of my friends that we go, just the look on their faces that I would even CONTEMPLATE this one was enough to determine that I was going, regardless of how “trigger” it might be. That look was worth it.

The Finale: There’s one more showing on Saturday night, so I’m not going to spoil this for anyone who goes—but if you DON’T have a damn ticket for this show yet, you ought to go for the finale ALONE. It’s one of the HIGH POINTS of Fringe this year. No joke. Seriously. Inspired.

What I didn't like

Me Personally? Not a huge fan of the in-between card girl. Nothing about her personally, it was just that the bit got old for me FAST and then was just a tedious and ongoing flat joke that I could have done without.

My overall impression

I have spent a long time in Los Angeles looking for great burlesque. There are many troupes and teams in the city and area that claim to be great—and my hopes are nearly always dashed. So when I met Lemi Atom at one of the Fringe meetups and was told that this particular show was going to be different, I came with pretty diminished expectations.

I left surprisingly impressed with a show that managed to be both brave, inspired and in several cases STELLAR burlesque. Some of the numbers were okay, in my opinion, but there are four or five of them that are really, really damn good. And in any evening of burlesque, if you have that many that you can walk away really happy with—that’s a DAMN GOOD NIGHT of burlesque.

I want to specifically point out two of the moments that, for me, really nailed something here. The premise of this show is all about hitting those trigger moments—the things that are supposed to make us upset, or uncomfortable or unhappy or angry. Enter Moonbow Brite, a larger lady and one who might well be some people’s trigger because of that size. What she did in response to that potential trigger was so good, it ought to be required in every burlesque show in the world.

And then came the finale. Not only was it some nearly replication perfect choreography to a very famous number from a musical, it then took that number and spun it on its ear in a way that will likely make many people uncomfortable (and yet is ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE TO THE SONG.) Even more appropriate is what happens at the end—and that part is almost certain to make some of the audience madder than a bee trapped in your ear.

Too bad. That finale is worth the price of admission all on its own. And that’s what Trigger Happy is all over—damn well worth the price of this admission.

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