The Sensuous Woman
nytheatre.com review by Lisa Ferber
October 3, 2007
Margaret Cho, you are my queen.
The Sensuous Woman is 90 minutes of laughs, glitter, color, sass, raunch, and fun. After a group dance by sequined cast members including downtown icon Dirty Martini, the glorious Princess Farhana, and the energetic Kurt Hall waving giant brightly hued feather fans, Margaret Cho bursts out onstage. The audience loves her and she knows it.
She begins with a rant about Britney Spears, "Leave Britney alone!" She then goes on to talk about how Britney's VMA performance was, yes, messed up, but can we stop calling her fat. "This sends a bad message to young girls, saying she was fat. That's not fat. Oh, fucked up, oh yes. We should change her name to Britney Houston." What Cho does throughout is celebrate beautiful freakdom. This show is hilarious, a bawdy good time, and our hostess hits her marks about wanting people to feel good about themselves, in particular where issues of weight and beauty are involved: "I know guys who do crystal meth in order to be thin. They're like, 'Yeah, I hear voices, but they tell me I look hot, so fuck it.'"
Cho's opening monologue sets up performances from a variety of talented stars: Princess Farhana, Kurt Hall, Liam Sullivan (of the famed YouTube video about Shoes, with the refrain "Betch"), Selene Luna, Ian Harvie, Dirty Martini, Diana Yanez, Ryan Heffington. Highlights include Farhana's Dorothy-in-Oz striptease, Dirty Martini's America-and-Money-themed dance (I don't want to ruin the surprise but let's just say she makes creative use of the dollar bill), and a gay-themed rap from Yanez and Hall: "Funky fag hag / We made out once but it made me gag."
Heffington wears a leopard print stretch outfit as he gyrates to Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana." I could have easily done without the extended crotch-in-face dance he delivered to my sister, which could have ended a lot sooner (or not happened at all). Heffington was generous enough to kiss my sister's head afterward.
Cho celebrates her sensuality throughout, including doing a very enthusiastic nipple-tassel dance. In a funny and touching moment, Cho tells a story of an interviewer who said to her, "What if you woke up and you were beautiful? What if you were tall, blond, and slim?" So Cho tells us, "If that's the only thing you think is beautiful, then you must not see a lot of beauty in this world, because there are all different kinds of beautiful. I am beautiful." The audience burst into applause. Margaret Cho succeeded in making a whole room full of people crack up laughing and feel great about themselves.
Congratulations, Ms. Cho. Please keep it comin'.