Super G and I looked down to the right of the stage where we heard the crinkling of paper bags and the pop of beer bottles being opened. A portion of the audience brought their own props passing the covered bottles around to their friends just before the show began.
It was opening night of “Tipped and Tipsy,” physical comedian Jill Vice’s new one-woman show at The Marsh (1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco, 415-282-3055415-282-3055, TheMarsh.org) in San Francisco’s Mission District on March 9.
Jill, playwright and solo performer of “Tipped and Tipsy,” has garnered much acclaim for her ode to San Francisco’s dive bar culture and its colorful cast of characters. It nabbed San Francisco Fringe Festival’s top honor, the “Best of Fringe” award, in the fall.
The theater was packed with fans and newly about to be anointed guests ready to watch as Jill transformed herself into 14 different characters, three of which – Ace, Ernest and Pat – are regulars, the macho bar owner Rico, and Candy, the bartender, and Happy’s Bar out of thin air. She didn’t disappoint.
A master of mime, improv and other professional theater training Jill commands the stage creating the set of Happy’s with nothing and embodies each distinct character with deft perfection switching between them effortlessly in body and voice without costume changes.
It’s a feat that is uniquely hers as she departs from the formula of traditional solo shows where actors typically employ monologues by individual characters or a narrator to aid with transitions between characters.
There isn’t a moment that is lost where you don’t know which character she is, even in the fight scene.
If her physical performance isn’t enough, she depicts the desolation, comradery and pride of neighborhood bar patrons and owners with profound humor and tenderness. The play is a comedy if not a dramedy. Happy’s isn’t quite a happy place, but it is magical in the sense that alcohol is available and served by a no nonsense, caring bartender Candy.
Candy is trying to save Pat, a former boxing champion, from drinking himself into oblivion and ultimately death. She rallies the other regulars, Ace and Ernest, and Rico, the bar owner, into cutting Pat off from drinking, but unsuccessfully as they continuously lack to grasp or recall the purpose and reason why he shouldn’t drink. It ends up being a one woman battle in spite of Ace’s insistence that he “always got her back” and has “nothing but respect” for Candy. Ernest, a sophisticated man with flair, fills everyone in on Pat’s colorful past as well as his respect for traditions and history. Rico simply hits on every woman in the bar and reminds everyone that he “owns the place.”
The show hits a nerve with its dead on depiction of regulars that can be found at nearly any neighborhood bar in the city.
Jill’s been around town serving up drinks behind many of the city’s gay and straight bars. For the past 13 years she’s observed the city’s nightlife and molded it into a stunningly funny and poignant tale of a girl bartender and her loyal patrons.
After two years of developing the show testing material out on bar patrons around the City by the Bay, “Tipped and Tipsy” debuted at the Chicago Fringe Festival in 2012. It appeared at The Rogue Festival in 2013 before heading back home to San Francisco much to bar fans delight.
The play was produced by co-creators Dave Dennison and David Ford, who also directed the show.
Get drunk with “Tipped and Tipsy” before the tap runs dry.
“Tipped and Tipsy” is currently showing through April 6, Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., at The Marsh Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia Street. Tickets are $15 – $35 sliding scale and $50 – $100 reserved seating. For more information, visit www.themarsh.org or call 415-282-3055415-282-3055, 1 – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
COOL TO DO:
See Jill Vice’s solo dramedy, “Tipped and Tipsy,” now until April 6, Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m.
The Marsh Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco, 415-282-3055415-282-3055 (open 1 – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday), TheMarsh.org.
BOX OFFICE: $15 – $35 sliding scale and $50 – $100 reserved seating.
TYPE OF EVENT: Solo performance, play, theater
RATING: 4 = black
(0 = worst rating and 5 = best rating)
VIBE: High energy, entertaining
SCENE: Typical hipster alternative theater. Dress code: jeans and t-shirt.
SERVICE: Casual to the point where it’s a little bit confusing by everyone shrugs it off and figures out where to go.
DAZZLE ME AGAIN: The performance is superb, well written and acted, and entertaining.
WHERE TO NEXT?: Catch “Tipped and Tipsy” touring future fringe festivals. Check out Jill’s website for future performances.
THE TICKET: $$ = $10 – $30
(Price of average ticket per person to enter the event)
WORTH THE OUTTING?: This was a rock’n good time!
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