It’s a holiday tradition: Miss Richfield 1981 is back on stage at Illusion Theater for her 18th annual show: 2020 Vision: A Holiday Survival Guide for the New World.
Russ King, as his beauty queen alter ego Miss Richfield, performs annually at Illusion with a cabaret show filled with dancing, videos, audience interaction, holiday sing-a-longs (where Miss Richfield gets an assist from pianist Todd Emanuel Price), and—of course—costume changes.
Though the show is billed as a survival guide for the world we’re living in today, this is where the show falls flat. The topical jokes and political commentary don’t have the same luster of Miss Richfield’s shiny costumes. The humor lacked the biting truths of the best social/political comedy and satire. Rather than providing any illumination, dissection, or discussion, this “survival” guide was less a map and more a sign post pointing out the obvious.
The strength of this show is in audience interaction. Miss Richfield is constantly chatting and responding to her audience, as well as pulling people up onstage for games. Miss Richfield isn’t shy about getting into the crowd and talking to people, and her comfort shows. Even if audience members aren’t as outgoing as Miss Richfield (she’s tough to beat) or don’t respond as expected, Miss Richfield carries the show on with grace and good natured humor. With her beauty queen’s charisma, Miss Richfield can coax the most reticent of audience members into playing along.
If Miss Richfield looks familiar, you may have seen her on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Today on NBC, or at one of her many on-the-road shows. Next up, she’ll be in Provincetown, MA.
Photo Credit: Russ King
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2020: A Holiday Survival Guide for the New World