fringe: the vaudevillians

adelaide fringe: the vaudevillians
I very nearly missed out on seeing the sparkling diamond that is The Vaudevillians! Somehow I missed it when I originally went through picking shows, and it was only when I happened to see somebody mention the show and it's star, Jinkx Monsoon (winner of Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race) that I got excited.

Jinkx was my favourite queen for that whole season, and I was rooting for her right from the get go, so the opportunity to see her performing live was too good to pass up.

And boy, was it absolutely worth it.

The premise for the show is simple enough, in the 1920's Kitty Witless (Monsoon) and Doctor Dan Von Dandy (Major Scales) delighted audiences with their original songs. Unfortunately, one day, tragedy struck while they were touring through Antarctica. They were frozen alive, staring into each other's eyes for close to 90 years. But thanks to global warming, they recently thawed out only to discover that modern singers have stolen their music and passed it off as their own.

Yep, that old chestnut.

What it really is is an opportunity for Monsoon and Scales to give their own unique stamp to a range of songs including "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Piece of My Heart", "I Will Survive" and Madonna's "Music" amongst others.

It's also both interesting and a little strange that Kitty (aka Monsoon aka Jerick Hoffer) and Von Dandy (aka Scales aka Richard Andriessen) are characters being played by characters created by the performers. And then on top of that they're doing their own interpretation of existing music as though their characters created it first.

Confusing? Actually not so much... but it definitely adds a wonderful world within a world within a world quality to the show (however for the purposes of this review I'll be referring to the performers as Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales).

While the music is fantastic, and I swear that Jinkx almost doesn't need amplification for some of the numbers, or at least she didn't from my position in the front row... but what made it an absolutely amazing show was the humour.

Fans of Jinkx from Drag Race will know that she was no stranger to comedy... but she honestly had me on the edge of crying with laughter at various points throughout the show, especially with her vocal gymnastics and deliciously over the top physical comedy during "I Will Survive", which according to the duo was taken from the Von Dandy's musical sequel to Ibsen's A Doll's House... A Doll's House 2: Electric Boogaloo (and you're only going to get that joke if you're over a certain age... but trust me, I laughed my ass off).

I could also seriously listen to her do her version of an Australian accent while saying "no" over and over and over again.

There's also nothing quite as funny as when a drag queen picks out a straight guy from the audience... because usually they've been brought along by their partner and may not exactly know what they're getting into... but it's usually hilarious to watch. And doubly so in tonight's case with Tim who was seriously man-handled by Kitty (and to a lesser degree when she sat in the very gorgeous Simon's lap and asked him inappropriate questions... but who wouldn't if you could get away with it).

A general word of advice to the straight boys in the audience from somebody who's been kissed by a big black opera singing drag queen in a room full of strangers... they've been doing this for a while now, they know what they're doing, sit back, relax and just let it happen. It'll be over before you know it and you have a great story to tell people later.

Although it is funnier when they squirm.

A lot of the time the focus is squarely on Monsoon's character (and by extension to Jinkx herself), because as I've seen it put rather bluntly in other reivews, "none of these people bought a ticket to see him", but Major Scales aka Von Dandy does hold his own throughout the show and gets his chance to shine during his version of hiphop song "Let Me Clear My Throat" (which I will admit, I wasn't familiar with).

Like a lot of shows that come to Fringe however, we did get the slightly cut down version of the show if some of the other reviews I've read are to be believed (with references to songs that weren't in this version), which is a little bit of a shame because I could very easily have spent another hour in Monsoon and Scales' world.

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