THEATER REVIEW: One Man Show @ Joe’s Pub 11/27/09

“You can change someone’s life by taking off your top,” boasts a statuesque blonde bombshell on a chilly Black Friday night in Manhattan’s East Village, where she fills a packed house with rib tickling tales of leaving Texas to run with men in heels. She’s known as World Famous *BOB*, but she’s all woman, at least that’s what she had to find out after becoming a drag queen. While many New Yorkers left the city to endure an awkward dinner with family or shop for skinny jeans they won’t fit in by New Year’s, the burlesque star enticed patrons at Joe’s Pub with the reprise of her One Man Show, which sold out when it first premiered in the summer. From learning how to dye farm animals hot pink as a child, to becoming a bald headed goth who gave a school principal a shocking surprise,*BOB* proudly tells her story in a gorgeous, velvet filled-setting, made fit for the evening’s eye candy.

Inspired by both John Waters and The Cure, *BOB* transformed from a small-town farm girl in Paso Robles into a dazzling dancer inheriting the famous sidecracks of Mae West and a rack that would have won an Anna Nicole Smith competition. At 5’11” and boldly wearing a transparent siren gown with lace cascading down to her golden pumps, it’s no wonder any confused schoolboy wanting to be more like Jayne Mansfield and less Joan Crawford would stare wide eyed at *BOB*. Her expertise in being one of the very few women who could actually pass as a drag queen was so convincing that she was once disqualified from a nightclub beauty pageant when comedian Julie Brown shrieked “That’s a man!” Losing the grand prize of a year’s worth of paid rent in New York City was no laughing matter, but for the buxom performer who lit up the stage with glitter alone, it was a personal triumph.

“I had to go to a gay bar called The Cock to realize I was actually a woman,” *BOB* reveals in One Man Show, later describing how she became one of the many pioneers of the city’s neo-burlesque movement. All thanks to mastering the theatrics and makeup skills of queens, she has become muse to photographer David LaChapelle, a four-time Golden Pastie Award winner, and an expert cleavage martini maker who knows how to give a mean shake with every show. With an awe-inspiring performance, we can only hope that *BOB* will give another encore of One Man Show because too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Stephanie Nolasco

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