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THEATRE REVIEW: The VaudeVillians: Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales @ Gala Theatre, Durham

November 16, 2017 2:00 pm


The Vaudevillians

 

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Review by Allison Birt

Bursting with charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, this production of The VaudeVillians had the audience in fits of laughter from the first word. The musical comedy followed the story of Kitty Witless and Dr. Dan Von Dandy, a delightful musical duo who toured the world in the 1920s, leaving audiences wowed by their brilliance. However, when they were touring  Antarctica, an avalanche hit and the two were left frozen alive. Thankfully, global warming meant they were thawed out of their frozen nightmare; but they soon found out that artists of the twenty first century had stolen their music and claimed it as their own. So, in revenge, the pair took to the stage to perform their music as it was it originally intended: jazzy with a hint of fabulous!

The two arrived onstage dressed in 1920s attire: Dr. Von Dandy wearing a plaid suit with a brown cap and Kitty Witless wearing a pink dress trimmed with fur. Major and Jinkx’s onstage chemistry was hilarious to watch, they bounced off each other incredibly well – Major being the devoted, witty husband and Jinkx playing the bored, promiscuous, feminist wife.

Dr. Von Dandy played the piano, whilst Kitty took centre stage. Although I had heard Jinkx’s vocals on Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, this didn’t compare to hearing her singing live onstage. Jinkx brought the house down with her belting ability and her comedic voice; she would transition from high operatic notes to low manly growls in a second. Her performance always had the audience on their toes.

As well as singing, Jinkx gave the audience dance routines and classic comedy shtick. An iconic moment was when Jinkx selected a man from the audience and brought him up on stage and performed Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ around him. Her character, a suffragette, took out all her anger on this unsuspecting member of the audience; at one point she put her gloved hands in his mouth and took her hand out to find his chewing gum on her glove. Jinkx turned this awkward moment into comedy gold. Her improvising skills were impeccable.

Another standout moment was the second to last show stopping number – Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’. This song was created by Dr. Von Dandy, as the opening to his musical ‘A Doll’s House 2,’ a sequel to ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen. In this number, Kitty was dressed in a sparkling blue gown and belted out a soul song; by the end of the song she was screaming the words in an angsty tone. At one point the music stopped and she screamed ‘FEMINIST’. The highlight of the song was when the song built up, and built up, and Jinkx’s tongue popped into the microphone.

Whether you’re a super fan of Drag Race or a fan of jazz music, this show is simply unmissable!

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