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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 28, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 22
Vaudevillians must-see neo-burlesque
Arts & Entertainment
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Vaudevillians must-see neo-burlesque

by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

The Vaudevillians
Balagan Theatre
Through June 5


Kitty Witless is a leggy blonde songbird with a marginal attitude and a tendency to hike her skirt up. Dr. Dan Von Dandy is a sexually repressed ragtime virtuoso with an arrogant streak and proclivity for men. Together they are The Vaudevillians, a husband and wife song and dance team who inexplicably became cryogenically frozen while touring the Arctic circa 1920.

While they were glacially challenged, a string of popular music acts from Janis Joplin to Lady Gaga stole their original compositions, modifying them to fit into the respective current eras. Now, Kitty and the doctor are back and laying claim to what's rightfully theirs. Trust me, you haven't lived until you've heard the original ragtime versions of "Piece of My Heart" and "Bad Romance."

Kitty Witless and Dr. Dan are the alter egos of Jerick Hoffer and Richard Andreissen, a couple of young local actors and comedians who just graduated from Cornish College of the Arts and are aiming to shake up Seattle's formidable neo-burlesque scene with their two-person show, The Vaudevillians, playing at Capitol Hill's Balagan Theatre (1117 E. Pike St.) every Friday and Saturday night through June 5. Shows at 11 p.m. Tickets are $10. Drinks are served throughout the show. Bring cash.

The show kicks off with a brief recap of the duo's chilling story, after which they dive right into the singing and dancing and belly-laugh-inducing comedy. The high-energy show flies by with Andreissen mainly manning the piano while Hoffer flits about the stage, pulling audience members into the act and vamping shamelessly.

While the energy of the stars drives the show forward, it's their talent that anchors everything to the stage. They are terrific comedians with expert timing and a knack for improvisation. Hoffer's sarcastic repartee is the perfect foil to Andreissen's obtuse arrogance. The resulting show is a mix of scripted and non-scripted elements that make each show unique. I saw the show Friday and Saturday night, and the Saturday show rocked harder, partly due to minor tweaking and partly due to audience energy (another reason to bring a few drunk friends along).

Hoffer and Andreissen are also talented musicians and it's the retrofitted musical numbers that form the core of the show. Hoffer said, "Richard reworks the music and the melody to make it more ragtime and with a 1920s feel. I normally think up the arrangement of who sings what, and how we'll harmonize."

Whatever they're doing, it works. The show is inventive and unpredictable and the music is fascinating. Visit the website www.balagantheatre.org for more information.

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