22 January 2014

MIDSUMMA: The Vaudevillians

MIDSUMMA
The Vaudevillians
presented by Strut & Fret
15 January 2014
The Greyhound Hotel
to 19 January
midsumma.org.au


The Greyhound Hotel is air conditioned, dark and has a huge bar with cold beer. And it's easy to park. As Melbourne is sweltering in the 40s, there's not much more you need to know except that The Vaudevillians is hotter than a plastic car steering wheel and cooler than a pool bar serving endless frozen margaritas.

The Vaudevillians are Kitty Witless (Jinkx Monsoon) and her husband Dr Dan Von Dandy (Major Scales). In the 1920s, they were a hit in speakeasies and burlesque stages, but on a tour to Antarctica they were frozen in an avalanche until global warming thawed them out. (The irony of opening in Australia during an insane heat wave isn't lost on them.) But on thawing, they discovered that their original songs had been stolen by pop artists and have come back to reclaim their music as it is meant to sound like.

From "Girls just want to have fun" (about the Suffragette movement) to "I will survive" (the opening number to A Doll's House 2: Electric Boogaloo), there isn't a hint of a dull moment as they sing, dance and fight while reminiscing about a time when coke was cheap and going poly with Kurt Weill was mandatory.

I have to confess that I haven't seen RuPaul's Drag Race (yet), so S5 winner Jinkx was an absolute surprise. She's heaven – assuming that heaven is delightfully filthy, glam and hilarious. Jinkx channels so many glorious famous women, but is completely her unique self with a vocal range as wide as her splits and comic timing you can set your watch to.

And she's joined by the oh-so-fine dandy Major Scales, who really does make a fez look cool and is the perfect balance to his coked-up Kitty.

As my computer is in a room without air con, my melting brain can't find enough raving words, but I'd go again even if the air con was broken. This is drag that's as smart as it is hilarious and Melbourne will have to put its wig back on the shelf if it isn't the hit of Midsumma.

This was on AussieTheatre.com.

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