Los Angeles Theater Review: BUSTING OUT! (The Hayworth Theatre)

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by John Topping on October 22, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you’re told that you’re going to see a show with two women (Emma Powell and Mandi Lodge) who are going to display their tits on stage in amusing ways that are calculated to make us laugh?  You probably don’t even have to think for more than a second to come up with Puppetry of the Penis.  But hey, not so fast, there, bub.  As the press notes insist, you shouldn’t “be tempted to think of this as some kind of mammarial imitation of Puppetry of the Penis.”  For one thing, all that those dudes did – do? – was use their genitalia like clown balloons.  Did they sing? No.  Did they do comedy routines or sketches?  No.  Did they have any production values whatsoever?  Hell, no.

Busting Out! at the Hayworth Theatre – Los Angeles Theater Review by John Topping

And yet, once we launch into Busting Out!, an evening of everything you always wanted to know about what could be done to boobs but were afraid to care, the similarities are really, really hard to ignore – at least in the first act (yes, they bravely include an intermission to give their knockers a rest – and to give you a chance for a refill on the alcohol on sale in the lobby).  They are seen initially clothed (“You didn’t think you were going to see tits right off the bat, did you?”), but soon enough bare what we’ve all come there to focus on (the reveal, by the way,  is the most shocking moment of the evening; these are tits that have seen quite a bit of action, and they don’t use make-up to hide the battle scars they’ve been through) and launch into a series of breast manipulation bits that – it simply can’t be denied – is the titty version of the dick show that we all know and (except for those of us who have actually seen it) love.  But in Act II they do move past the boob puppetry into other realms.  They are both talented singers, and despite the plethora of groans from endless lame jokes, they manage to elicit some genuine laughs every now and then.

Busting Out! at the Hayworth Theatre – Los Angeles Theater Review by John ToppingTheir titty shadow routine is a highlight – they make vivid impressions of the Batman insignia and the Loch Ness Monster (as well as a couple of “what the hell is it supposed to be?” moments) – and the character of General Hung Lo is a lowlight, not too far from Mickey Rooney’s notoriously racist portrayal of I.Y. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  The microphones are ear-splittingly loud – why? And that poster – ay yi yi.

Busting Out! – Emma Powell’s creation – debuted in Australia in 2006, has toured mostly in that country (as well as New Zealand and the UK), and is having its North American premiere right here in Los Angeles (presumably the first stop on the way to New York, though no dates are set beyond the LA engagement).  Considering how often it’s been performed, it’s a shame that director Terence O’Connell allows Ms. Powell to end too many routines with a sort of yelp as she dashes off the stage in mock panic.  It never works, it comes off as amateurish, and that it happens at least three times is the most unforgivable aspect of the evening.

Busting Out! at the Hayworth Theatre – Los Angeles Theater Review by John Topping

Of course, approaching Busting Out! purely as a theatrical event is almost beside the point, for however low the antics may go, their trump card is that, underneath it all, the show is about female empowerment, simply by the virtue of seeing two plus-size women who are completely comfortable with their bodies, which is indeed refreshing, even to this titless bloke.  But more than that, the press notes claim that the show has a “transformative effect on many women, particularly older women.”  I am all for that, no matter what form the transformation comes in (though personally I prefer the theatrical methodology of the great Annie Sprinkle).  So there’s all the information you need to decide whether or not to go; the rest is up to you.  But without a doubt, if you have to choose between Busting Out! and Puppetry of the Penis, definitely choose this one.

Busting Out! at the Hayworth Theatre – Los Angeles Theater Review by John Topping

Busting Out!
Hayworth Theatre, 2511 Wilshire Blvd
Wed at 7:30; Thurs & Fri at 8; Sat at 2 & 8; Sun at 2 & 6:30
ends on November 6, 2011
for tickets, call 323.960.4442 or visit The Hayworth
for more info, visit Busting Out.com

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