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The Silence of the Clams” brings a jolt of campy energy to the local theater scene

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Wait, where does it put the lotion?
Photo: Arslan Gusengadzhiev

Before heading to catch The Silence of the Clams, take this quick self-test: Do you laugh at vagina jokes? How about fart gags? Offended by over-the-top gay and lesbian stereotypes? Know the difference between a gunt and a fupa? Remember any key lines from The Silence of the Lambs?

The Details

The Silence of the Clams
Three and a half stars
Through March 27; Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; $20
Onyx Theatre
953 E. Sahara Ave. No. 16, 732-7225
onyxtheatre.com

If you answered yes, yes, no, yes and yes, this clever and campy (and crude and crass) spoof of the 1991 crime thriller should be right up your dark alley. Clams is the latest offensive play by Jamie Morris, the mastermind behind Mommie Queerest and The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode, drag send-ups that also had successful runs at the Onyx Theatre, which has turned itself into a lively venue for unrestrained absurdity and frequent nudity.

Clams opens with a mini-movie trailing FBI trainee Clarice Startling on an eventful jog through Sunset Park; she bounds off the screen and onto the stage, where she is sent to ask imprisoned evil genius Hannibal Lichter for his expert assistance in tracking down a deranged serial killer.

Morris and director Christopher Kenney—aka Edie, the statuesque drag emcee of Zumanity—clearly know Lambs inside and out, and the gynecologically obsessed script is peppered with local references and pop-culture buzzwords. An all-male trio of actors populates the entire movie scenario, with Brooks Braselman zeroing in on Jodie Foster’s butch sincerity, laborious West Virginia twang and melodramatic side-eyes. As Lichter, Morris nails Anthony Hopkins with lip-smacking precision, and hilariously doubles as psycho Jame Gumb, of “it puts the lotion” infamy. Darren Ross amuses as a sssssibilant doctor and other incidental characters.

The 75-minute parody plays fast and loose, like a live John Waters movie, and Kenney and Morris employ the most rudimentary stage effects to great effect: The climactic scene with Clarice trapped in a pitch-black basement while Gumb stalks her with night-vision goggles is a literal scream.

Clams provides the rude jolt of energy that the local theater scene needed—I can’t wait for the company’s next pop-culture victim.

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