Folded poster published in conjunction with "Conquest of the Universe," a play performed November 15 - 19, . Written by Charles Ludlam. Directed and with music by John Vaccaro. Guest starring Taylor Mead with additional performances by Beverly Grant, René Ricard, Ondine, Mary Woronov, Lassila, Claude Pervis, Ultra Violet, Brown, John Foster, Richard Nusser, Patsy Lamers, Frances Francine, Kevin Buchanan, Lynn Reymer and Robert Bunselmeier.
The new play at the Bouwerie Lane Theater, is described by its sponsors, the Playhouse of the Ridiculous Repertory Club, as 'a para-moral study of these space-intoxicated times' and 'a supreme comedy of The End.'
All right, jf you. say so, boys and girls. But the first thing an - outsider notices about this avant-camp spectacular is that I it's even bawdier than the group’s last one, 'Gorilla Queen.' Persons who found that 'particular music-drama a bit much even for the modern liberated sensibility should be warned that 'Conquest' is even more so. You don’t have to be a prude not to like it.
On the other hand (take this I as testimony of one prude who didn't like it) the play contains nothing that can’t be found on some of the racier Greek vases of in the darker verse of Jonathan Swift.
At any rate, conventional and unconventional sex is not the only theme of “Conquest” Digestion also gets some graphic /attention as does infanticide. There is even a parody of Mary Martin in “Peter Pan.” Can irreverence go further?
Triumph of Poor Taste
If it can, the Playhouse of the Ridiculous will doubtless take it there next time out. The group's trademark is its practical and not merely theoretical break with the world of “good taste” - a break one who likes to think of himself as a solid citizen of that world would like to condemn, but cannot in the face of such curiously liberating results.
If Charles Ludlam’s script for 'Conquest of the Universe' sometimes seems merely mindless, the director, John Vaccaro, and his actors generally make it seem really outré, Which is some trick in the unshockable 1960's. And Mr. Ludlam's script is not without virtues of its own, making excellent sport of pulpy science fiction flicks, bloody Elizabethan melodramas and bad rock 'n' roll as well as Miss Martin.
Prominent in the large cast are several familiar faces from the wonderful world of [Andy] Warhol, notably the ever-exotic Ondine (I’ve come to Venus to see the ka-ween!) and the ever-vicious Mary Woronov ("Seize him! Sterilize him!"). Taylor Mead’s fey version of Miss Martin’s version of "I'm Flying," which he delivers from a playground swing, also is fun as is Patsy Lamers and her red brittle wig.
Technical work is excellent — a tip-off that there is controlling intelligence behind all this madness. As barbarous and nihilistic as "Conquest of the Universe" looks on stage, there [is clearly discipline behind the scenes. Are they secret traditionalists after all?" -- "'SUPREME COMEDY' OF THE END OPENS : Conquest of the Universe' Is Bawdy and Irreverent," by Dan Sullivan, The New York Times, November 27, 1967.