We love San Francisco, we love seeing new shows in the Mission, we love theater venues with full-bars, so when we heard about The Barbary Coast Revue at Balancoire we thought we’d love it. The description on the About page read: “Mark Twain delights with a riotous musical comedy sing along at THE BARBARY COAST REVUE…Set to parodies of Bay Area hits from the ’80s to now, THE BARBARY COAST REVUE is the new must see show for anyone seeking “the true history of San Francisco!” So with high expectations for a night of anachronistic revelry, off we went for an evening of Drama Talk & Drinks.
Brittany: I just (sighs)…If you’re going to make the audience participate that much then you should almost have auditions for your audience. The leads had really good voices, but there were so many awkward drunk people that could not sing that it messed up the show for me. I know it’s supposed to be a sing-along, but really every single song? We don’t even know the lyrics!
Katie: Exactly! There were so many times I wanted to hear the lead female sing because she was so good, but I couldn’t. Also, if you’re going to take popular music and use the melodies then your lyrics and story have to be really clever, and I think they fell short. There were a couple moments when it worked, the Third Eye Blind “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life” with En Vogue’s “My Lovin – You’re Never Gonna Get it” mash up was dope, but most of the time I don’t think they went far enough.
B: I like that it was an ode to San Francisco, but I agree, SF has a crazy history and the writers could have done more to make the show more relevant and creative. I think I only LOLed twice. I guess if you like Beach Blanket Babylon you would like this…but this didn’t have hats. Also, and I know this was opening night, but there were SO many technical errors. The spotlights didn’t turn on at the right time, the projections of the lyrics were off, which made it even harder for the audience to sing-along. Just lots of little things like that which made the show feel really messy. It runs all summer so I’m sure they’ll work out the kinks, but the bad tech was definitely distracting.
K: I’m really rooting for Balancoire, it’s such a cool space and I love that there’s good food and drinks and there’s a performance space… it just all didn’t come together for me. If you are going to be that corny you have be more clever.
The Verdict: Cool venue. Talented singers. Mediocre writing. Bad tech. We go to theater to see talented people do creative things, not to be forced to sing weak lyrics to dated songs with a bunch of drunk people. People shouldn’t get away with sloppy theater like this, so unless this show tightens-up save your $29-$64.
The Drama Talk: The Barbary Coast Revue is supposed to be silly and fun, but the execution was lackluster. Maybe we’re the problem, and just aren’t ‘fun’ enough to look past the shows flaws and dive-in uninhibited. Much of the audience (mostly ages 40+) seemed elated to be the under rehearsed stars of the show – singing and doing the conga with the actors. It was just not our cup of tea. If the show was technically tighter, the actors more uniformly polished, and the audience participation less intensive we could have gotten past the weaknesses in the script, but despite some great individual performances (we’re looking at you Danny Kennedy, Stephanie Rapa and Michael Perez) we just felt awkward when we were accosted by actors at the end of the show asking “Did you enjoy it?”
The Drinks: We love going to performance venue’s with a full bar, so the show get’s points for that. We had their special cocktail called a “Shanghai Surprise”. The surprise was how good it was. Maybe we should of had a few more of those before the show to loosen us up for sloppy drunk karaoke theater.
The Barbary Coast Revue runs every Thursday at Balançoire. Tickets are available on their website and range from $29-$64. The more expensive ticket gets you a private 7pm hors d’oeuvre reception with the cast, VIP reserved seating, and dinner during the show, all of which looked yummy.