SLASHER reviewed



Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle


The award winning San Francisco Playhouse operates under the assumption that theater is about entertainment; given their burgeoning audiences, awards and accolades, the formula is obviously working.


Currently the Playhouse is performing SLASHER, written by Allison Moore, directed by Jon Tracy and starring the First Lady of San Francisco Stage: Susi Damilano.


Frances McKinney (Susi Damilano), a misguided whack-job feminist, demonstrates a willingness to kill in pursuit of an anachronistic agenda that hearkens back to the seminal days of Betty Friedan.


Against the perceived injustices of a misogynistic society and a degrading, exploitive film industry, Frances employs an unconventional arsenal of weaponry: a cordless drill, a staple gun, pruning shears, screwdrivers, the family sedan and a satchel charge resembling a bird's nest of multicolored detonator wires.


Sheena, Frances' daughter (played by Tonya Glanz), is a struggling college student, working endless shifts at a Hooters knock-off earning $2.14 per hour plus tips; then she is cast in BLOOD BATH: a titillating, ultra low budget, high cleavage, slasher flick of the "schlock horror" genre.


The director of BLOOD BATH: roué Marc Hunter (played by Robert Parsons), is more impressed with Sheena's pulchritude and accoutrements than with any of her latent film talents; as his fantasies roil, he hires her away from Buster's Beer House to the tune of $15,000.


When Mommy Dearest: Frances finds out about Sheena's sleazy film career, she emerges from the painkiller fog bank, she had hitherto shrouded herself, in order to mobilize against arch villain Marc Hunter and to rescue Sheena from digital disgrace.


Deprived of her electric wheel chair, Frances is not to be deterred: she slithers about like an amphibian in desperate search of a Vernal Pond.


Susi Damilano has a level of physical comedy that reaches the classic genius of Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Lily Tomlin.


As Frances, Susi Damilano is uproariously hilarious as the frenzied fruitcake fixated on a mission from Friedan.


Frances is a psychotic crusader stuck in a warp-drive episode; replete with a glistening, candy apple sebaceous sheen of accumulated hyper sweat and coifed with matted hemp-like, sebum clotted hair: she looks like she could have escaped from a Mental Hospital, a Pilates Class or the Paleolithic Age.


Make-up Artist Daniel Hirsch deserves Obie for this one.


Set Designer Bill English has either worked a miracle within the intimate stage or violated nearly all the Postulates of Euclidean Space; if String Theory is correct and the universe really does have eleven dimensions, then Bill has discovered at least ten of them within Playhouse stage.


SLASHER is real comic genius manifested on the stage: it is truly a genuine piece of performance art, but first and foremost it is entertainment: you will laugh until you re-open your liposuction scars or dampen your incontinence shorts.


SLASHER is not to be missed.


For tickets, now through June 5th, go to or call 415-677-9596.