The Dolls have returned with a new batch of witty and raunchy one-liners, mimed sex scenes and subversive political commentary. But this time, they're doing it to the tune of Candace Bushnell's landmark HBO show.
The newest offering of Albuquerque’s favorite drag troupe promises a good time for all (except perhaps your Mormon grandmother or children under a certain age). But the people who will get the most out of it will meet two criteria—they’ll have lived in New Mexico long enough to remember Double Rainbow before it became Flying Star, and they’ll have seen most of the “Sex and the City” series.
Sex and the Burque is exactly what it sounds like: a parody of the hit TV show, but set in the 505 instead of the Big Apple. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte navigate dating in the desert with necklaces fashioned from chile ristras, one-night stands with men of uncertain orientation and Martini glass after Martini glass of Cosmos.
Carrie is emotionally hobbled by her love for her ex, Mr. Grande, who continues to court her while donning a black cowboy hat. Samantha worries that her nights of meaningless and frequent exploits are waning. Career-minded Miranda starts to fall for a basketball-playing bartender despite herself. Charlotte worries that she and her tiny, fuzzy canine Elizabeth Taylor will never find the missing ingredient for their family.
The storyline is informed by the Dolls’ twisted humor. A knocked-up Miranda, for example, has to take things into her own hands when she discovers that Planned Parenthood has closed from lack of funding. Otherwise, the script reads like a greatest hits of “Sex and the City” scenarios, from Samantha randomly servicing people in the service industry to Carrie chasing after a book deal.
The best moments come in the Dolls’ loving mockery of Albuquerque institutions and symbols. A bumpy scene staged on the Rapid Ride garners knowing laughs. And a bridal hat made only of a single stuffed roadrunner is worth the price of admission alone. This is a show written by people who know and love their town and who aren’t afraid to poke a lot of fun at it.
Almost more of a draw than the show itself, though, is its actors. The ever-popular drag troupe is cast perfectly in this outing. Chastity Belt-Off (Bradd Howard) serves as leading lady Carrie, and she exudes the perfect mixture of idealism and unadulterated narcissism. With a winning coupling of regality and raunch, Dolls ringleader Tequila Mockingbyrd (Ken Ansloan) seems made to play Samantha. Garrick Milo is hilarious as a driven, self-doubting Miranda. And who else could play a misty-eyed Charlotte but sweet-cheeked A.J. Carian? In fact, each actor fits her role so nicely, it makes you wonder just a little if there’s truth to the cliché that every woman can describe herself as one of the four characters.
On opening weekend, there was some stumbling over lines, mainly on the part of side characters. And the Aux Dog Theatre was a little slow in rolling out the curtain between some scenes (the lowering of a screen was actually comically slow). But the rest of the production was pure enjoyment. The Dolls have reserved a place in the cockles of Albuquerque’s heart. And in Sex and the Burque they have, once again, proven why.