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 Camp playwright and drag actor Busch debuts with a fictional re-creation of his off-Broadway career--a success story that's part middle-brow Oscar Wilde and very much a gay soap opera. Struggling solo performer and incipient drag queen Julian Young has one theatrical ambition: ``to be Sarah Bernhardt.'' Raised by his rich Aunt Jennie and inspired by her bizarre wardrobe, Julian seeks stardom at any cost. He is, as his best friend says, ``flamboyant, outrageous, emotional, obsessed with artifice but also tough, gritty, totally self-absorbed, a survivor, and very seductive.'' When he happens upon an East Village performance space called Golgotha, Julian decides to give his fading career a final chance, and arranges to put on a play he hasn't yet written. Composed during his job as an office temp, Whores of Lost Atlantis is a melodrama that draws from the clichÇs of trash movie classics. And to perform it, Julian assembles a ``borderline crazy'' cast made up of his oddball friends: Gary, the hunky children's magician and New Age channeler; Joel, the drama- school buddy who's threatening to go to law school; Camille, the 40-ish, ex-disco queen stage-manager; Perry, the manic-depressive; Buster, the bimbo male stripper; Zoe, the waif-like mystery girl; and Kiko, the crabby performance artist whose show involves uncooked eggs and her private parts. Everything comes together for the troupe when the humorless Kiko is replaced by Roxie, a brassy Eve Arden type. Soon the show draws a cult crowd; Julian follows up with such plays as Sex Kittens Go to Outer Space and I Married a Fairy Queen; and his motley crew makes the move from off-off-off- Broadway to off-Broadway--but to get there involves a silly subplot related to raising funds. Despite a cavalier attitude to sexuality, there's much here to amuse anyone, regardless of orientation: the perfect crossover formula that's worked so well for Busch on stage.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56282-780-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993