Three and a half years and more than a dozen cast changes after its debut, Torso Theatre’s Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack continues to go where theater companies looking for grants and awards dare not venture. What distinguishes Torso’s satire from mere sophomoric irreverence is the seriousness with which playwright Billy Bermingham and his company present their apocalyptic vision, remaining true to their unpleasant characters long after most actors would have copped out with a mealymouthed “We’re only joking, folks.” This dedication to their task–warning society of impending doom–coupled with a manic energy and agility, keeps our attention focused on the message even while holographic strippers are masturbating with office machines, homeless people are being murdered for their organs, privileged citizens are dining on Clorox and third-world babies, and bodily fluids of all descriptions are spurting in fountains all over the stage. Not for the faint of heart–or weak of stomach–Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack is a two-fisted farce that leaves no cultural taboo unviolated, no hypocritical demon unexorcised. Torso Theatre, 2827 N. Broadway, 549-3330. Open run: Fridays, 10 PM; Saturdays, 7 and 10 PM. $11.98-$13.98.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Billy Bermingham.