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Seattle by David-Edward Hughes

The Vaudevillians Reclaim Seattle in Style
Seattle Repertory Theatre

Also see David's review of Kinky Boots and our interview with Tom Jones

Major Scales and Jinkx Monsoon
The Vaudevillians, a wacky cabaret entertainment starring "RuPaul's Drag Race" season five champ Jinkx Monsoon (aka Seattle-based actor Jerick Hoffer) and co-star/pianist Major Scales (Richard Andriessen) conquered the Big Apple at The Laurie Beechman last year, so a full run at Seattle Rep was inevitable and is most welcome.

The simple premise is that a pair of touring 1920s vaudeville entertainers, Kitty Witless (Ms. Monsoon) and Dr. Dan Von Dandy (Scales), are put into the deep-freeze in an Antarctica avalanche, and frozen alive. Thanks to global warming, they have thawed out and hit the performance circuit anew in our scary new century, only to learn to their horror that many of their edgy, original tunes have been stolen and inappropriately re-interpreted over the years. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was originally about the woman's suffrage movement, and "Drop It Like It's Hot" was originally about the invention of the electric iron. Their new act attempts to right these wrongs. Seattle had few opportunities to sample this show before it went national, and it has been tightened and re-worked a bit. Though a few numbers are missed from before and some of the new are less spot-on choices for the concept, the overall effect is still dizzyingly hilarious.

Jinkx makes Kitty a party girl with an appetite for drugs and sex and hot jazz, and skewed a bit as only several decades in deep freeze can do to ya. Major Scales is the perfect contrast, as the alternately controlling and dominated Dr. Von Dandy, sharing vocals, fingering the ivories, and offering an eerie understated genius performance as Kitty's cunning collaborator. Ms. Monsoon could overwhelm most co-stars, as she did her competitors on "Drag Race," but Scales refuses to be outshone, and wisely is given a solo dance number of his own in this edition, which balances the material better, and gives Jinkx a deserved vocal break. Still, it's the teamwork of these one-time college pals that really makes this show sizzle. Might there be a book musical in the duo's future? I hope so. For now, though, make haste to the Rep while you may, before the pair are snowbound again.

The Vaudevillians runs through November 2, 2014, at Seattle Repertory Theatre's Leo K. Theatre, Seattle Center; $30-$65 (206-443-2222 or

Photo: Courtesy Laurie Beechman Theatre

- David Edward Hughes

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