Miss Richfield 1981's 'Bingo Bonanza' offers too much


There really can be too much of a good thing, as was made clear Friday evening at the Miss Richfield 1981 holiday show, Bingo Bonanza. Most of the individual parts were plenty of fun but all of them together--the show lasted well over two hours--drained the overall fun from the whole experience.

[jump] This year, Miss Richfield (the onstage alter ego of Russ King) went bingo on us, offering a couple of games loaded with lots of jokes aimed at members of the audience. The bingo games, which were perfect for plenty of "ball" double entendres, also gave plenty of chances for audience participation, as several "volunteers" were enlisted to basically make fools of themselves onstage. And really, that's a good chunk of the fun with these shows--especially if you can duck out of her line of sight. (Note to the shy: don't get tickets in the front row.)

Audience participation went high tech this year; Miss Richfield 1981 took tweeted suggestions for her trailer-park-inspired twist on the "12 Days of Christmas." Some were pretty good (who doesn't love a pack of feral cats, at least represented onstage?).

Still, the parody grew tiring around day eight. The bingo segments also went on and on, this time with another audience-participation bit that dragged.

The good news is that these are problems that can be fixed. Miss Richfield 1981 herself admitted that the first act went on too long. A bit more focus will only sharpen the parts that already work and keep other parts from getting stale. And really, who wants stale goodies for Christmas?

Miss Richfield 1981's Bingo Bonanza runs through December 19 at the Illusion Theatre.