This is NOT the homage to “Star Wars” you’re looking for.
Or – maybe it is!
If you have had a lifelong love of the epic space odyssey since you were a kid (check) and love parody humor (check) and find some adult-themed humor and risqué costumes fun (check), then maybe “The Empire Strips Back: A Burlesque Comedy” might just be for you.
I know it was for me.
This beloved movie has had the piss taken out of it before in ways that some might view as tasteless.
Consider Mel Brooks’s “Spaceballs” (“May the schwartz be with you!”), the hilarious bits that have been done on the trench run on the Death Star or “Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody.” (No, I’m not going to link to that last one, you filthy prevert.)
But “The Empire Strips Back” takes it to a whole other level.
The title pretty much sums up what you’d expect: A live stage production of performers in skimpy “Star Wars” costumes shimmyin’ and shakin’ more than window blinds caught in a hurricane.
Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/144088886
I’ll never look at Luke Skywalker, the Imperial guards or Darth Vader the same again.
I caught the act on May Fourth (May the Fourth be with you…) at the PlayStation Theater in Manhattan and it was a raucous good time.
“Luke” (a female dancer) sponging up a landspeeder and then doing her best “Flashdance” shower impression.
Princess Leia doing a strip tease as R2-D2 watched, prompting the droid to spit out a stream of cash like an overheated ATM.
Han and Chewbacca dance and rapping and stormtroopers peeling off pieces of their uniform in a synchronized dance number.
The final act featured a catina scene with Yoda on the drums, and Admiral Ackbar rapping and busting a move.
The costumes were spot-on, the sets (including a googly-eyed, tongue-wagging Jabba the Hutt) engaging and the performances energetic.
What about the T&A, I’m sure you’re asking.
Sure, there were lithe bodies and flashes of flesh, but honestly no more than what you’d see in Times Square with the desnudas – the painted topless women wearing thongs who pose for photos with tourists.
For my money, the absolute highlight of the night – and the performance that brought down the house – was the appearance of the scraggly Emperor.
Through a series of gestures, he got the audience to urge him to disrobe.
First one shoulder, then another and by the time the robe was fully off, there he was in his all-together – a nude one-piece body suit with his costumed exaggerated tallywags swinging like pendulums.
Then, a la Miley Cyrus, he mounted a wrecking ball in the shape of the Death Star while the music blared.
It was epic.
Now before you go criticizing “The Empire Strips Back” for sullying the memory of your cherished “Star Wars” movie franchise, I have just five words for you: “The Star Wars Holiday Special.”
Now, THAT legitimately would cause Obi-Wan to say, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror…”