Regional Reviews: Seattle
Movieola: Songs of the Silver Screen
Also see David's review of Stuff Happens
Theatrical cabaret in Seattle is fighting off threatened extinction after the demise of one of its primary venues, Thumper's Oak Room, late last fall. Two of the performers leading the fight are comic chanteuse Angie Louise and madcap actor/singer Marcus Wolland, and under the latter's production company, Straight-Edge Theatrics, the pair and pianist Deanna Schaeffer are making summer nights smile with the zany and heart-felt Movieola: Songs of the Silver Screen on the Crepe de Paris cabaret stage.
Kicking off with Craig Carnelia's splendid ode to "Old Movies," Louise and Wolland offers a refreshingly non-cliché evening of movie tunes, ranging from movie musical songs, movie theme songs, Broadway to film adaptations, animated fare and a number of cult movie musical songs, mainly culled from John Waters and Mel Brooks' film catalogues.
Act one highlights include Louise vamping her way through the Mae West ditty "A Guy What Takes His Time," a soulful rendition of "The Man That Got Away" from the Arlen/Gershwin score for Judy Garland's A Star Is Born, and a frisky "Mein Herr" from the film of Cabaret. Wolland delivers a hearty solo on the show's most creative inclusion, "Matinee Idol," a Rufus Wainwright penned paean to Rudolph Valentino, and has a grand tongue-in-cheek time with the Andre and Dory Previn Valley of the Dolls groaner, "Come Live With Me, and an out-of-control "Windmills of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair. The duo have a musical license to kill on a "James Bond themes" medley, and have jovial fun with an animated/family movie medley, particularly that feline favorite, "The Siamese Cat Song" from Lady and the Tramp, and they pave the way for the odder side of movie music with an act-closing "Science Fiction Double Feature" from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
After a giddy act two opening, "All Too Familiar Movie Medley," ribbing such overdone cheese-ball songs as the themes from The Poseidon Adventure, Mahogany and Superman, the duo take on the movie music twilight zone with ribald results. You know you are in for it when the most familiar tunes in the segment are "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Harper Valley PTA." One might never have expected to hear "Perversion" from The First Nudie Musical again, but Louise rips into it as if it were a chart-buster, and does a mean Dietrich via Madeline Kahn on Mel Brooks' "I'm Tired" from Blazing Saddles. Wolland is comic bliss on the lesser known History of the World, Pt. 1 tune "The Inquisition," and there are several more (deservedly) forgotten movie tunes the pair exhume with the joy of musical archaeologists.
Pianist Schaeffer is accomplished and lively throughout. Only "The Man That Got Away" begs for a fuller orchestration, but that's the nature of the song, not a reflection on the singer or pianist. Closing with a rousing "That's Entertainment" is quite apropos. Angie Louise and Marcus Wolland are entertainers in the very truest sense of the word. It would be criminal to miss their show, and even more criminal for theatrical cabaret performances in Seattle to go the way of the dinosaur.
Movieola: Songs of the Silver Screen runs Wednesday July 11-Sunday July 15 only at 8PM at Crepe de Paris Restaurant & Cabaret, 1333 5th Avenue (at Union, inside Rainier Square). Dinner and show package is $45, show only $15. For reservations call 206-623-4111.- David-Edward Hughes