by CHRISTINE SARKES SASSEVILLE
Russ King’s hilarious holiday drag satire pokes fun of Asians, Christmas, religion, lesbians, bad sweaters and suburbia. No group is safe from Miss Richfield 1981’s sharp-tongued, spike-heeled humor. King’s hysterically funny Sweet & Sour Richfield: Made in China! is a holiday tradition for many repeat audience members and a break from traditional, treacly holiday fare for newcomers. King’s beauty queen alter ego, Miss Richfield 1981, was created after an impromptu idea of spicing up a friend’s party led to stage performances. King, who grew up in Richfield, has performed annually on Illusion Theater’s stage since 1996 and throughout the country.
The show mixes audience participation, holiday sing-alongs and video montages into a very thinly woven plot about a possible move China, while poking fun at our prejudices, provincialism and poor fashion choices. With a beehive hairdo, spiked heels and better legs than mine, Miss Richfield screeches and prances her way through a largely improvised set designed to challenge any notion of political correctness. She had the audience shouting with laughter and approval at her razor sharp barbs and “Oh no, she didn’t” stereotypes. If you are in the mood for crazy drag queens and laugh-out-loud holiday satire, this is the show for you! If you are seated near the stage, be prepared to be “dragged” into the fun. Fashion faux pas, bad sweaters, hairstyles and hometowns were favorite targets.
Sweet & Sour Richfield: Made in China! Miss Richfield 1981.Written and performed Russ King, accompanied by pianist Todd Emanuel Price, directed by Michael Robins at the Illusion Theater on the 8th floor of the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Ave. in Minneapolis, through December 22, 2013. Tickets $30-$40 at 612-339-4944 or online at www.illusiontheater.org.