Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Seattle

Too Darn Hot at the Crepe de Paris

Also see David's review of Movin' Out

Marcus "La Wanda" Wolland,
Angie Louise, and Tim Glynn

Even if Seattle itself is still in the last throes of spring, the temperature and laughs are rising at the Crepe de Paris, where a sizzlin' musical revue entitled Too Darn Hot has settled in for awhile. This is the kind of show that Seattle audiences and summertime visitors have traditionally flocked to at the venerable downtown cabaret restaurant, and with the talent involved (and low ticket price), this case of summer madness deserves SRO status.

Though veteran cabaret comedian/singer Marcus Wolland, chanteuse/pianist Angie Louise, and cabaret newcomer Tim Glynn play themselves in this merry mélange of songs associated with the summer, high points of hilarity come from guest appearances by a certain blonde bimbo named "Elsie Gow" who appears in act one and a haughty, homely old homegirl named LaWanda Dupree who steals act two (Spoiler! There are only three performers in the show. You do the math).

Following a jaunty ensemble version of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate hit which gives this show its title, the evening becomes a briskly paced series of mini-medleys which give the whole cast plenty of chances to impress. The opening "Summertime" medley, includes Ms. Louise's silken rendition of the show's only real ballad, "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess. "Elsie" offers a rather overheated (but hilarious) take on Irving Berlin's "Heatwave" that would probably make both Ethel Waters and Marilyn Monroe roll over in their graves. Wolland's strong voice, an asset throughout, is a big selling factor on the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City." Other act one high points are Louise and Wolland's tongue in cheek version of the Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazelwood angst fest "Summer Wine," Louise's ferociously funny version of "School's Out" by Alice Cooper, the trio's "Summer Lovin'" from Grease and "Elsie's" earnest ingénue popster lead vocal on the Brady Bunch camp classic "Sunshine Day."

Act two opens rousingly with Nat King Cole's "Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days of Summer," in which we first meet the tart-tongued "La Wanda" who then offers a real showtopper, lewd, laugh-filled take on Tom Wait's "Ice Cream Man." The sweet-voiced Glynn captures the vanilla flavored innocence of the schmaltzy "Sealed With A Kiss," and duets well with Louise on "See You in September." "I Can See Clearly Now" is putty in Louise's hands, and the trio lays on the pathos in the wallow that is "Seasons in the Sun."

Though Wolland and Louise are the old pros on the stage, Glynn grows looser and more relaxed throughout, and plays well off them. Louise's ability to play the piano and stay fully involved as a singer/co-star is a joy to behold. The show ends with Buster Poindexter's "Hot! Hot! Hot!" and that is the perfect summation of what this show offers, a hot show at a cool ticket price, plus delicious dinner, drinks or dessert as desired. My idea of a fun summer night (with apologies to the Seattle Mariners baseball team).

Too Darn Hot runs through July 24 at the Crepe de Paris, 1333 5th Ave, Rainier Square. There are no performances June 18,19 or July 2,3. For reservations call 206.623.4111.

Photo: Art Anderson

- David-Edward Hughes

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