Yesterday at 6 AM, I flew from Seattle to San Francisco to see The Witches of Eastbay, a drag queen version of The Witches of Eastwick, starring Peaches Christ (who also wrote, directed and produced it), Miss Coco Peru and Chad Michaels, with Peggy L’Eggs and Thomas Dekker as the devil himself, Daryl Van Horny.
The Castro Theatre was the perfect venue for the show. Deep in the heart of The Castro district of San Francisco, this beautiful historic theater is large enough to provide plenty of seating, yet small enough to let the actors interact intimately with the audience.
The matinee I attended was the first of two shows of this production, with an evening show the same night and an after-party, which I would have loved to attend, but I was already on my plane back to Seattle by then. They had practiced for a few days earlier in the week; I think the matinee was only their second time on stage.
As would be expected from a Peaches Christ Production, the show was extravagant and witty. It was great fun to watch, and the audience didn’t hesitate to get involved, interjecting hoots and hollers intermingled with their raucous laughter.
Drawing heavily on Jack Nicholson’s incarnation of the devil in the original movie, Dekker was still able to make it his own, stealing the show whenever he was on stage. He played up to the audience, making asides and ad libbing freely. His comedic timing is very good, and he listened to the audience reaction, waiting for their laughter to die down from the last gag before going on with his next line deliveries. After the show, he shared with me that he is nervous acting live on stage, but that didn’t get in the way of his performance.
At the meet-and-greet with the cast, I got to chat with Dekker. He has worked with Peaches Christ before, appearing in Grey Gardens and Hocus Pocus. (Wish I could have seen one of these shows, where he actually sang. In Witches, everything was lip-synched.) He expressed hopes for the renewal of Backstrom, showed me his new tattoo, and talked about his first acting role at age 5 and his first stint producing his own indie movie, Whore, at 19. As well as writing and producing this film, he starred in it, directed it, ran the cameras and did the editing. Amazing feat for one so young. I’m always impressed with actors who wholly embrace their craft and continually push their limits, which why I started following this talented young man. There are rumors he has another film in the works.
Working pretty much his whole life, Dekker has acting credits every year since he was five, including such TV shows as Star Trek: Voyager, Seinfeld, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and, most recently, Backstrom. Movie credits include Star Trek: Generations, A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Kaboom, Enter the Dangerous Mind, and Fear Clinic, with three post-production movies in the works. He has also done voice acting in many animated films.
Thomas is a good singer as well as an actor. In 2008, he recorded the techno punk album Psyanotic and worked (secretly; not sure if I’m supposed to share this) with Zero Times Zero on the recently released Equals Zero, which includes the track ‘Peaches and Coco’ (wonder where that came from?).
I’m so glad I took the day to go to this show! Nothing compares with seeing an actor live on stage. It would be great to see Dekker in a more serious stage production, but if he performs again with Peaches Christ, I’m going to do my best to be there.
Thanks to my friend, Dustin, for this great shot of me and Tom after the show yesterday. All other photos were taken by myself on an HTC One Mini (hence, the poor quality).