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Burlesque show goes ape! - Brooklyn Paper

Burlesque show goes ape!

Going ape: The Wasabassco burlesque company will premier their theatrical adaptation of the 1933 classic, “King Kong,” a the Bell House on Oct. 18. The play will feature, from left, Hazel Honeysuckle, Medianoche, Evelyn Vinyl, and Nasty Canasta, among other burlesque beauties.
Photo by Alex Colby

Exotic dancers and a giant ape — what could possibly go wrong?

The burlesque crew of Wasabassco aims to get it right with a two-and-a-half hour theatrical adaptation of the 1933 classic “King Kong” — only this time the savages are sexy-lady savages, the dinosaurs are sexy-lady dinosaurs, the attacking biplanes are sexy-lady airplanes.

“Kong is as ridiculous as you get, and that’s burlesque in a nutshell,” said producer Doc Wasabassco. “There’s nothing sillier than a giant ape and, when you add nudity, it’s the perfect storm.”

Doc Wasabassco, the burlesque team’s leader and host, describes himself as a life-long fan of the original film — perhaps not surprising seeing as his brother Ray Morton, author of “King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson,” is one of the world’s foremost experts on the film.

It may be more surprising that the production’s playwright, Wasabassco burlesque star Nasty Canasta, has an ironic phobia of both primates and monkeys, but was lured into penning the script through her pre-burlesque background as a theater student.

“It’s funny, everybody who’s known me from my pre-burlesque days knows I hate monkeys,” said Canasta.

The show’s giant-sized ape will be realized through a variety of means — not just a guy in a high-end gorilla suit, but also through video projections, and massive monkey props.

“There will be giant hand,” Doc Wasabassco promised.

“This is the most work we’ve ever put into one show, but the enthusiasm is really high,” he said. “We raised a little over $3,000 for the King Kong suit on Indiegogo, and that didn’t even cover the whole cost.”

Most of the other characters, human or otherwise, will be given life by Wasabassco’s roster of lovely ladies, who have been given free reign to craft their own burlesque routines within Canasta’s narrative framework.

“The specific numbers have been subcontracted out to the individual performers,” said Doc Wasabassco. “So, we say, ‘you’re going to play a dinosaur,’ and I love that, because every single performer has been bringing their A game.”

Wasabassco’s “Kong” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third Avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, thebellhouseny.com] Oct. 18, 9 pm. General admission $25. VIP admission $50. Limited seating, except for VIP ticket holders.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
The damsel: Hazel Honeysuckle will star in Wasabassco Burlesque’s theatrical adaptation of the 1933 classic, “King Kong,” playing Ann Darrow, as originally portrayed by Fay Wray, but with a burlesque spin.
Photo by Alex Colby

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