You may have heard of fan fiction, that literary “art” that places established fictional characters or settings inside a different story. But have you heard of fan burlesque? Vancouver’s Geekenders gives us exactly that in a sometimes sexy parody based on the original 1977 Star Wars movie.

Cleverly re-titled A Nude Hope: A Sci-Fi Burlesque Adventure, this adaptation of the classic sci-fi film is galaxies away from Tatooine and Alderaan. In this version, from Vancouver’s fandom theatre troupe Geekenders, C3PO wears a golden speedo, Darth Vader is a dominatrix and Imperial stormtroopers strip down to their pasties. It is enough to make George Lucas blush.

Following the film’s storyline with surprising accuracy, the race to rescue Princess Leia and destroy the Death Star is interrupted by burlesque numbers that includes everything from a duet by R2D2 and C3PO set to the 1980’s R&B hit “Just the Two of Us”, and a sexy dance from those white clad stormtroopers performed to ABBA’s “Super Trouper”.  Darth Vader’s theme song? “Killer Queen”, naturally.

A mix of the traditional burlesque which parodies a more serious work, and the later co-opted term that is more synonymous with striptease, A Nude Hope attempts to cover both bases. At times it is quite clever in its send-up of the Star Wars film, with references that those with even a passing knowledge of the film will appreciate. In one particularly funny exchange, Luke Skywalker’s obsession with Princess Leia is foreshadowed to future movies when he finds out she is really his sister. Other pop culture references abound, all wrapped inside the art of the striptease, complete with fans, pasties and many shaking body parts (just wait until you get a load of the twerking stormtroopers). With few exceptions, the dance numbers are pretty basic, but then they are more a means to an end anyway.

In A Nude Hope, straddling the line between burlesque and film parody is not always successful, as many of this large cast of 17 are not actors. In the named roles Andrew Lynch as C-3PO is the most successful, not surprising though given his theatre pedigree, and gives us a nice homage to Anthony Daniels who originated the role in the film. Paired with Roe Butts as R2D2, the duo gives us some of the funniest scenes. Draco Muff-Boi goes way over the top as Luke Skywalker and Stephen Blakley is suitably full of bravado and self-obsession as Han Solo.

Like too much of a good thing though, for anyone but the most die hard of Star Wars fan, A Nude Hope doesn’t know when to stop. By streamlining some of its already familiar story, writer and director Fairlith Harvey would also have more opportunity for the burlesque dance sequences.  And let’s face it, for better or worse, when you put the word “nude” in your title, it is the burlesque that is most likely bringing many into the theatre.

Shelby Page’s costumes are evocative and provocative.

Fans of the Star Wars franchise ate the show up last night, as did apparently hundreds of others during the show’s first run a couple of years ago. The celebration of the human form in all its shapes and sizes is to be lauded. As Yoda says: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” And this cast certainly does.

A Nude Hope: A Sci-Fi Burlesque Adventure written and directed by Fairlith Harvey. A Geekenders production. On stage at the Waterfront Theatre (1412 Cartwright St, Vancouver) until July 19. Visit http://geekenders.ca for tickets and information.