Chance is a wonderful friend if you're willing to accept her
outstretched hand and follow her blindly when she shows up.
My latest encounter with chance lead to me attending an
incredible show. I met Carolyn, an English journalist on a gourmet chocolate tour in San Francisco and
after devouring mouthfuls of delicious dark chocolate I accepted
her invitation to tag along with her and Lisa (San Francisco's
Cultural and Event promotion manager) for the afternoon.
With one night left in town, Lisa suggested I check out the
longest running musical revue in theatre history... Beach
Blanket Babylon. Her eyes lit up as she tried to
describe San Fran's fave musical but I really had no idea what she
was on about, however I gathered there would be some impressive
I foolishly decided to walk the 10 blocks to Club Fugazi in the rain, not taking into
account the notoriously steep and slippery-when-wet streets
of SF. The rain may have dampened my attire but when I turned into
Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard and saw the queue outside the
theatre my heart raced. When they name a street after a musical,
you know it's going to be something special. I was seated in the
Magin box and while I waited for the curtains to part, I took the
opportunity to speed-read the program.
"Beach Blanket Babylon started with Steve Silver and his
friends performing in June 1974 and became an instant hit.
Highlights include: a performance before Queen Elizabeth and Prince
Philip, an invitation to the White House by President Reagan, a
successful 18-month run in Las Vegas and on their first tour of the
United States as a married couple, Prince Charles and Camilla, the
Duchess of York, were guests at Beach Blanket Babylon in
The show ensured my cheek and abdominal muscles got a good work
out, with act after act of rip-roaring belly laughter and
involuntary clasping of hand-to-mouth, as countless giggles slipped
through my fingers.
It's a satirical take on the fairytale theme of a young woman
looking for a prince. Snow white, snow flake and snow plough as she
is affectionately referred to, is guided by the most unexpected of
fairy godmothers - from a busty French prostitute to Beyonce.
Politically themed songs are raunchy and cutting, focusing on the
innaporpriate actions and personally traits of well known
candidates but always with a smile. There's a ridiculous number of
puns that turn up in the dialogue and a-top the heads of the cast
with fantastical hat designs that defy gravity, each one an
impressive engineering feat.
Imagine a world where French poodles sing and dance, peanuts
are hippies and it's OK to wear your heart on your sleeve... or and
an entire city on your head.
The classic fairytale structure rewards the audience with a
happy and off-the-wall ending. The secret of the show's success is
it's ability to stay relevant in changing times, incorporating pop
culture's successes and failures, all wrapped up in a candyfloss
coating of fun.
Old school storytelling + pop culture piss-takes + huggable
characters + fantastical headwear = my favourite two hours in San