Space Madness: Burlesque, Drag & Variety Show at The Austin in Everett, WA

Entertainment Review, Variety Show Review

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As a virgin to a full burlesque show, I had no idea what to expect as two friends and I sauntered in to a bar called The Austin in Everett, WA to watch a show titled: Space Madness.  I was cordially invited by the divine hostess, Shana Deon, to attend these festivities, and am so grateful for that invite, because Space Madness was a hilariously fabulous night of entertainment with a space odyssey/alien invasion/all things with the word Star in it (Star Wars, Star Trek, Stars, etc) and it was delicious!

Let’s start with the opener of the night, one Miss Sparkle Leigh.  You may remember that name, as she was the divine hostess of the last Variety Show that I saw at the SecondStory Hideaway in Redmond, WA (you can read that review here if you missed it!), and Sparkle was one of the main reasons I made the trek up to Everett to see this show.  And Sparkle Leigh did NOT disappoint!  This bitch opened up the show doing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina from Evita as, wait for it…Marge Fucking Simpson!!!  Don’t believe me?  Check it out, here is Sparkle Leigh with Shana Deon at the show:

asparkle

I love everything about this photo!  Anyway, I digress.  Miss Leigh’s Evita was stellar!  And when those giant blue eyes looked in my direction, even though she told me not to, I may have cried for her Argentina, because it was that damn fantastic!

And then, as if I didn’t already love her enough, Sparkle Leigh came back in the second act dressed as E.T., and y’all, this costume was even better than the first!  I was not ready.  Let me say it again, I was NOT ready for this!

11393239_401997843327233_1640113859445636500_n Girl was performing Katy Perry’s        Extraterrestrial dressed like a giant E.T doll  and blew my mind in a very, as Shana pointed out, WTF moment!  So good!  Soooooo good!  She werked the hell out of that costume from the fringe to the head to the glasses to the boots.  Loved it all, loved it!  Brava Miss Diva!

11289442_420748038107330_5145487395804463579_oMy second favorite act of the night belonged to a fellow named Al Lykya who dazzled first as Captain Kirk from Star Trek, and then as Han Solo-esque character to one of my all time favorite songs, Space Cowboy by NSYNC.  Al had charisma, great choreography, and phenomenal stage presence.  He’s got a way of captivating an audience that had this reviewer sad and bummed to only see his name on the set list twice.  But all was not lost, as my third favorite act, who closed the first act, belonged to a lady by the name of Maxie Milieu who came on right after Mr. Lykya’s Captain Kirk as Captain Jean-Luc Picard!  She committed to this character in a way I was not ready for at a Variety show.  I was ready for campy.  I was ready for silly.  I was even 11412028_420748044773996_397897958884696273_oready for sexy.  I was not, however, ready for committed acting performances and character development at the level Ms. Milieu gave us as Picard!  She came out drinking hot tea, and had tea bags strategically placed on her body that came out as the act went on.  It was fabulous!  But when Mr. Lykya came back out and got on the floor and Ms. Milieu dipped two wet tea bags dangling from her lady parts into Kirk’s eagerly waiting open mouth, the entire place died!  We fucking died!  And just when we thought, through the cheers and tears of joy the entire audience was experiencing, Kirk and Picard made out!!!!  Yeah, you read that right, they made out!  It was hot!  It was wrong, and yet oh so right!  And all the nerds in the place lost their minds with nerdgasms!  Huge applause to these two fine performers for the brilliance of this performance!

Everyone in the show was fabulous, but other notable performances that stood out for me as being amazing were newcomer Steemed Peter.  This 11393333_420748051440662_6484764154273483601_ohot little number, while new to burlesque, is not new to the stage, and when he came out as a space man to plant his flag in an all white astronaut outfit and stripped down to a pair of teeny tiny martian green boy shorts, pretty sure there was not a dry seat in the house!  My one criticism would be whatever he had going on under those boycotts, because someone needs to introduce this newbie to a dance belt, and fast!  He’s too cute to not accentuate the goods!

11406742_420748034773997_206477529243053748_o  I also thoroughly enjoyed Saleurn Ramos and her fantastic hoops.  The hoops were something I hadn’t seen before, and loved the various patterns of light, and girl can work those hoops, let me tell you. She’s also a yoga instructor, so between the bending and contorting and flinging those hoops around was mesmerizing! I hope to see more of Ms. Ramos in future burlesque and variety shows because she is outstanding!

11267664_420748058107328_6628791841150124534_oAnd finally, the stunningly beautiful vixen that closed out the show, Miss Seraphina Fiero, gave two phenomenally sexy performances in this show.  She is a combination of strong and sultry at the same time, making you feel as if, while you watch her, that somehow she’s weaving a spell over you, but you dare not look away for a fear of missing one tantalizing moment!  That you’d follow this dreamy siren anywhere she beckoned!  Her last name is Italian for Pride, and this lovely lady should be very proud of the show she put on last Sunday night.  Bravo!

I will be keeping an eye on future productions put on my Ms. Deon and produced by Siren and the Treasured Chests.  I thank all involved in this show for a wonderful, fabulous, hilariously sexy nerdfest!

Loved it!

Ciao for now,

M sm

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Legally Blonde at SecondStory Repertory Theatre in Redmond, WA

Entertainment Review, Theatre Review

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I have taken about six deep breaths and exasperatingly let them out before starting to type this review.  Why, you might ask?  Well, because I really wanted to love this show.  I really enjoy this theatre, and for the most part have enjoyed shows I’ve seen there.  I also love a few of the leads, and had high expectations for this show.  Perhaps they were too high, because I was nothing but disappointed by this show.

Ok, there were a few high points.  First, the cast as a whole sounded great. The vocals were on point, especially the voice of Kristin Burch, who played Elle, the voice of Nicholas Tarabini, who played Warner, and the voice of Brynne Geiszler who played Vivienne.  The chorus was spot on as well, anchored by the voices of Sarah Russell as Pilar, Tatum Ludlum as Serena and Krista Johnson as Margot.

Second, some of the acting was done quite well.  I really enjoyed Mr. Tarabini’s performance as Elle’s ex-boyfriend/classmate at Harvard.  He is the antagonist of the show, his actions being what drive the story, and Mr. Tarabini did not disappoint.  I saw Mr. Tarabini in SecondStory Rep’s Next to Normal  and was thrilled to see that he was cast in this show.  However, his talent was truly wasted in the role of Warner, and he really should have been Emmett, but we’ll get to that.  Again, the main trio of sorority girls, Ms. Russell, Ms. Ludlum and Ms. Johnson were all very believable in their characters.  One chorus member, Devon Allen, who played Nikos and various ensemble parts was the star of the show!  He stole every scene he was in, and had the best bend and snap on the stage!  I give a huge Bravo to these fine performers.  And that is where the compliments end!

The main failure of this show was the concept.  Director Matt Wolfe missed the mark so badly it actually physically hurt to sit through this show!  He set it in the 80s!  The friggin 80s!  You can’t set Legally Blonde in the 80s because there are so many references that are so key to the 90s, and are necessary to the story!  The writer in me was seething because of all the line and lyric changes that were made to make this stupid concept ‘work’.  And what killed me was they didn’t remove all the references to the 90s.  They left in lines like “Aren’t there girls going wild somewhere without you?”  Newsflash, that is a 90s reference!  Or, “I don’t speak MTV”.  That’s a 90s reference, because MTV was still so new in the early 80s, no one spoke it yet!  It was so unbelievably irritating.

11209594_990287764337961_8987067345717679489_nAnd, to make matters a million times worse, let’s talk about the epic failure that were the costumes of this show!  I mean…I don’t know who Jocelyn Fowler is, but there was not an outfit on that stage that fit well or made sense!  Poor Mr. Tarabini had to look like some Don Johnson reject from Miami Vice.  1485080_990286844338053_2319785655602937654_nPaulette’s clothes looked like something a bad Madonna impersonator threw out because they were too tacky, and the sorority girls (I use the term loosely because half of them were young girls and the others looked old enough to be house mothers), were in an Omega Moo color schemed legging/tunic getup that wasn’t flattering on any of them!  And the poor UPS Guy, Kyle, never had a chance in the awful outfit he 11218055_990286871004717_2995818722343091613_nwas forced to wear, not to mention the Irishman of Paulette’s dream coming out dressed like an Outlander extra, complete with a Scottish hat with a red pom on the top of it.  Not cute.  Not appropriate.  And most importantly, NOT CORRECT!

But the worst part for me was the direction of Elle.  I’ve seen Ms. Burch in other productions at other theatres and she is talented as hell, so imagine my surprise when I watched her play Elle as a bitchy, unlikable, know-it-all from the get go!  The beauty of the character of Elle is that she’s likable!  She’s sweet, and beautiful, and has no idea that she has more to offer than those two qualities.  The whole effing point of this show is that Elle takes a journey to understanding that she’s smart!  She’s got more to offer than just her looks, and has to, let me repeat that: has to, figure that out on her journey.  But from the first scene in the dress shop where Elle is schooling the sales girl, to Elle dealing with Vivienne and Professor Callahan, all I saw was smart Elle who had already figured it all out.  I wasn’t invested at all.  I didn’t care if she got what she deserved. And my guess is this is how Ms. Burch was directed to play Elle.  Either way, it was not fun to watch.

And as if completely missing the mark on who Elle is wasn’t bad enough, the casting of this show made no sense to me based on the acting and singing skills I saw on that stage.  Mr. Tarabini should have been Emmett, as I said, because he sang and acted rings around Tadd Morgan who was cast as Emmett. Mr. Morgan was the weakest one on the stage.  He and Ms. Burch had zero chemistry, he messed up lines left, ride and sideways, and sang at her and not to her, and it was miserable to watch.

As I said, I was really upset because I really wanted to like this show, but Mr. Wolfe’s concept was so bad that I literally hated this production.  Please, anyone reading this who wants to direct a production of Legally Blonde, leave it in the 90s where it belongs!  Don’t change lines.  Don’t change lyrics.  Don’t mess with the project!  If you want to do an 80s show, do the friggin Wedding Singer!

The show does play for two more weekends, but I wouldn’t bother if I were you.  If I had it to do all over again, I’d have left at intermission and saved myself the agony.

I’m a fan of SecondStory Rep, and have high hopes for future productions, and will definitely be back.  Everyone slips now and again, and this was a major slip, in my opinion.  But it won’t keep me from seeing shows in the future. Unless, of course, I see that Mr. Wolfe is the director, then I might skip it.

Hated it.

Ciao for now,

M sm