Calling All Gamers! Boobs & Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque—NOLA


By Sean K Young

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Allways Lounge, New Orleans

I have to be honest, when I found out about the ‘Boobs and Goombas’ show I thought it was going to be totally cheesy. I mean the concept of a burlesque show based on the Mario Brothers video game dynasty sounds anything but sexy. It is not like we are talking about Lara Croft, or any of the girls from DOA. Hell, we are not even talking about Princess Daphne from Dragon’s Lair. (How is that for a 1980’s video game reference?) This is two Italian plumbers that were played by Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo in the god-awful live action movie. Definitely not sexy in my book.

Admittedly, the ex-gamer in me was intrigued, but certainly with more trepidation than anticipation. As it turned out, I could not have been more wrong. The show is GENIUS.

Originally created on a dare by Pixy Belmont of Gorilla Tango Theater in Chicago, ‘Boobs and Goombas’ has surfaced in New Orleans thanks to Picollo Tushy, a Chicago transplant and B&G alum.

This isn’t simply a Nintendo-themed burlesque show, ‘Boobs and Goombas’ has an actual story to follow. Our lovable plumbers, Mario and Luigi have become downtrodden, defeated men so frustrated by the never-ending castles trying to save Princess Peach that everyone – including each other- looks-a-like-a-b-u-tee-ful-woman. The only thing that will save them is to finally rescue the Princess, but it will be hard—after all, they have been trying since 1983 and they will have to battle oddly enticing enemies along the way.

The aforementioned Picolla Tushy stars as Mario and Perse’ Fanny plays Luigi. I am not really sure how, but these ladies made giant moustaches, unshapely overalls, ridiculous hats, and over the top italian accents sexy—campy, funny, cute—but sexy. Even sexier once the overalls came off later in the show.

As our heroes go through the game levels, the traditional enemies get quite the makeover. Sadie D’Amour’s “underwater” veil dance version of a Cheep Cheep is certainly more alluring than a floating goldfish. May Hemmer teased us as a Koopa Troopa with a very clever peek-a-boo turtle shell, and I am not sure I will ever look at a Chain Chomp the same after seeing Sleeping Booty dressed in Nazi-dominatrix leather outfit complete with bandolier and helmet. Even the spooky level was provocatively reimagined into the hottest number of the evening.

Granted, the boobs in ‘Boobs and Goombas’ are toned down compared to other burlesque troupes around town, but more importantly, this show is hilarious! I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time. The show is packed with inside jokes and game references that had the audience in stitches. Well most of the audience—I don’t want to mention a certain photographer’s name who has never played Mario Brothers. I know, I know, but she takes good pictures.

I am not sure who was funnier: item-selling Toad played by Leg-a-sauras Rex or Princess Peach played by Mama Good-n-Plenty. Leg-a-sauras hysterically portrays Toad like a dealer from Central City, pedalling magic mushrooms and a raccoon tail “That will make you fly, man,” while Mama plays Peach with a dual personality that must be seen to be appreciated.

One of the more ingenious things in the show was the version of “pass the hat.” The audience is asked to drop “coins” into a box and every time money went in, the coin sound byte played over the sound system. If the cast collects enough coins along the way, you’ll unlock the alternate ending. Brilliant!

This show was so not what I was expecting. It is a smart, funny deconstruction of a video game that brings out the nostalgia in most people. Oh yeah, and there are boobies. As it stands, they have one more weekend of fun before their run is over. Get your ass to the AllWays this weekend and have some fun.

Until next time people, good night.

New to the burlesque scene, Sean K. Young is the managing partner of a New Orleans-based I.T. firm. He and Tonya Armbruster have recently launched the NOLA culture blog Southern Babylon. 

All photos ©Tonya Armbruster and used with express permission by Burlesque Beat. Performers may use shots for promotional purposes, but please credit properly with photographer’s full name and a link to this piece in all instances. 

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