Hip Shot: Lysistrata 1979

Gala Hispanic Theatre

Remaining Performances:

Friday, July 19 6:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 20 12:15 p.m.
Wednesday, July 24 at 8 p.m.
Friday, July 26 at 6:45 p.m.

They say: "The year is 1969, baby, and the Rude Sock Puppet Guerrilla Theater is working to win hearts and minds and end the Vietnam War with their staging of a swinging sex comedy, Aristophanes' masterpiece, Lysistrata!"

Rebecca’s Take: If you advertise sock puppets, there had damn well better be sock puppets, and Lysistrata 1969 is very much lacking in tubular marionettes. It's also lacking in effective blocking and skilled comedic acting. What the show has, instead, are three men dressed as giant penises. If that sounds hysterical, by all means, buy a ticket to this loose adaptation of a classic about that time in ancient Greece when the women put an end to war by not putting out.

Lisa Hill-Corley stars as the ancient ringleader of ladies night, Lysistrata. She’s forceful, funny and, appropriately, the strongest actor onstage. The ladies she convinces to forgo sex for the anti-war effort are played by actors who a clearly having a very good time. Good for them. But they need to hang on to their day jobs more than the average Fringe performers. A little bit of hair-flipping and wink-wink, nudge-nudge innuendo is funny for a few minutes, but not an hour.

After about 30 minutes of orgasmic whining, the women make their pact, and the running gag makes an entrance. To depict men in desperate need of a release, the three guys in penis suits portray “Honorary Members” of the Athenian magistrates. Give them credit for an intense commitment to physical comedy. Each pair of men stays connected, and when the Spartan ambassador attempts to shake hands and declare a truce, he must reach over two 6 foot-long dildos to do so.

The Rude Mechanicals—as this troupe is known beyond Fringe—convey their Summer of Love theme through tie-day togas, Party City peace sign jewelry, and various pink and yellow props. The actors also attempt to sing a few 60s hits, but on opening night, they struggled to stay on key until the audience joined in at the end on “All We Need is Love.”

“Oh no! It’s the longest Beatles song ever!” exclaimed one of the guys playing a guy who knew he could finally get some. He wasn't the only one who found relief when the last chorus was through.

See it if: The phallic farce is your favorite genre at Fringe.

Skip it if: That lit-up scaffolding on the mall provides all of public erection drama Washington needs.

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  • Julia E

    Oh, my mileage couldn't vary more on this one. This is the funniest version of Lysistrata I've ever seen, and I've seen a fair few. It's bright, joyful, clever and inventive, and to those of us who actually remember the sixties, it's a wonderful homage. And the 'Honorable Members,' i.e. the people in the penis costumes? My absolute favorites. Such expressive faces!

    Just being in the audience was a treat. I sang along, and laughed so hard it hurt.

  • Anne Hughes

    I agree with the article. I found it crass, uninspiring, and a waste of not only my money but time. I felt like this was put up by a bunch of middle schoolers without proper adult supervision. If this is what the Rude Mechanicals believe to be real theater than I promise to never see another show with this group again. If I could have asked for my money back, I would have.

  • Philip M

    sorry you did not like "Lysistrata 1979". Maybe you'd like "Lysistrata 1969" better - that's the show I saw and the audience seemed to like it