by Robert Roth
Long before her masses of adoring gay fans knew of her, Jerek Hoffer, aka Jinkx Monsoon, and her partner in crime, Richard Andriessen, aka Major Scales, were performing their two man show for adoring audiences at Cornish College. Cut to the present and that show, The Vaudevillians, has become an international phenomenon, selling out for months at New York’s Laurie Beechman Theater and touring across the vast expanse of Australia, thanks in large part to Jinkx’s 2013 win on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
The premise of the show is simple and genius. Kitty Witless (Hoffer) and Doctor Dan Von Dandy (Andreissen) are a 1920’s Vaudeville duo that spend nearly 100 years frozen in the Antarctic ice. When they are miraculously thawed out thanks to global warming, they discover, to their horror, that their entire body of musical work has been co-opted by various musicians over the intervening years. So they’ve set out to set the record straight, so to speak.
It’s impossible not to thoroughly enjoy their alternately comical and musical romp. Jinkx and Major Scales have an easy, familiar chemistry on stage. Jinkx, in particular, cycles through a whirlwind of emotions and expressions with a well practiced ease. It’s important to note, however, that despite the many, many audiences they’ve performed this show for, each time still feels fresh and funny.
As Kitty, Jinkx departs from her usual schtick as Seattle’s only Jewish narcoleptic drag queen to become a sex-crazed, drug and alcohol fueled songstress. Where Andressien’s Doctor Von Dandy is the set up man, Kitty is the punch line with a genuine punch. Probably rum punch. Kitty is like a modern day Eliza Doolittle, a fair lady indeed, but with a tongue that cuts glass and claws to match.
Jinkx demonstrates her considerable musical and acting chops as she galavants from the chaise to the top of the upright piano. Her commanding presence is evident, as is her command of the audience. That they’re willing to bring an unrehearsed audience member onstage to be serenaded with, and thoroughly groped to, the “original” version of Britney Spears’ Poison is testament to such.
Andressien’s Doctor Von Dandy is loony almost to the point of becoming unhinged, only tempered by the bawdy, raucous antics of his stage mate. They two are quite the pair, and The Vaudevillians is quite the show. Leave the kids at home for this one, though, because Jinkx may eat them for dinner.
The Vaudevillians is playing in the Leo K. Theatre at the Seattle Rep now through Nov 2. Tickets start at $42 and can be purchased online here.
For a special experience, on Friday 10/24 they will be performing a special late-night The Vaudevillians Uncensored, which includes one signature cocktail with your ticket price. Tickets are almost sold out, though, so act fast.