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vancouverplays

 

preview imageDEBBIE DOES DALLAS (THE MUSICAL)
by Susan L. Schwartz
adapted by Erica Schmidt
Music by Andrew Sherman
Pickled Productions
Media Club, 695 Cambie St.
November 13-24
Odyssey Night Club
1251 Howe St.
November 27-December 15
$23/$30
604-231-7535 or www.ticketstonight.ca

Debbie Does Dallas (The Musical) is definitely not to be confused with that other show about high school cheerleaders currently on stage, Disney’s High School Musical. It’s not nearly as wholesome—admission is restricted to 19 or older.  But neither should you mistake it for the porno movie original, Debbie Does Dallas.

Adapted from the movie and staged off-Broadway a few years ago, the musical sweetly parodies the porn classic.  All the sex is simulated (usually while someone is singing), no four-letter words are spoken, and the only exposed flesh is one bare male bum. It’s good dirty fun, and by far the raunchiest piece of theatre in town.

Clean-cut, all-American Debbie (the very likeable Jamie Robinson), captain of the cheerleading squad for the high school Trojans (ha ha), fulfills her lifelong ambition when offered a chance to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.  But how can she get to Dallas when her parents refuse to pay?

Fellow cheerleaders Roberta (Laura Wilson), Donna (Victoria Nestorowicz), goody goody Tammy (Claire Lindsay), and jealous slutty Lisa (Lee McKeown), who’s willing to do what Debbie won’t—go all the way with Debbie’s boyfriend Rick (Adam Lolacher)—come up with a plan to fund Debbie’s trip: they’ll get jobs! 

Soon they realize that the easiest way to make money is by offering sex to their employers (played by Lolacher, Antonio Olivito, and a manic Ryan Egan as, among others, a candlemaker named Mr. Hardwick).  It starts out innocently but grows into explicitly mimed activities, all delightfully—and sometimes, to be sure, erotically—choreographed by Jason Franco, and accompanied by a rollicking recorded rock score.

The show takes its naïve style from movies like Legally Blonde. Debbie is all wide-eyed innocence, Tammy doesn’t want to trade sex for money because she’s afraid it will impede her from becoming a US Senator, and the girl-talk among the cheerleaders always ends with “Okay, bye,” as if they were going to the mall rather than to an orgy.

The songs are as silly as the dialogue: “I’m just a guy like any other guy,/ I wanna have sex,/ Don’t ask me why.”  Randie Parliament’s staging is awfully sloppy except for the sex scenes which are lovingly shaped. The dancing is fun to watch. 

Canadian audiences don’t have the same fetishistic attachment to cheerleading as Americans do.  Girls in short skirts with pom poms doing splits while standing on their heads may not be an average Canadian guy’s number one sexual fantasy.  But Debbie and her friends are so darned cute.  And yeah, sexy too.

Note the 7:00 PM curtain.

Jerry Wasserman