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Friday, November 28, 2008

Cabaret kicks off holidays with burlesque show

Chico Cabaret's third annual "Holiday Burlesque & Vaudeville Comedy Show" features comic skits, short turns, striptease acts and more.

The long-anticipated, well-attended show opened last Thursday and runs through Dec. 20.

"Holiday Burlesque," directed by Phil Ruttenburg, offers two acts and 29 skits. Many of the sketches are written, choreographed and performed by the actors. This is a hilarious, risque show for mature audiences and not for those easily embarrassed.

With such a multitude of talent, it is impossible to give to all the accolades they richly deserve. Most of the acts were unforgettable.

Masters of Ceremonies Conan Duch and Sean Green announced, "If there's something that offends you, it's probably in this show." They brought down the house with their version of the famous Abbott and Costello skit, "Who's On First." Instead of baseball, they related to striptease artists who performed during the act.

There were takes from "The Yellow Brick Road," complete with the wicked witch (Kelsi Fossum-Trausch) and two flying monkeys. As Snow White, she belted out the well-known "Fever" song.

Frank-N-Furter, Anthony Varicelli's character from "The Rocky Horror Show," captured an uncharted course in his bawdy, amusing rendition of Christmas songs.

A "Hot Metal Cops" sequence involved male and female strippers who revealed "more than the law allows."

Amado Hernandez, as Madame Vulva Le Grande, overwhelmed the audience with his spectacular performances in two acts. Beautifully dressed in drag evening gowns, he lip-synchronized perfectly to the high-volume songs.

Drummer Komoki Bunting provided the only live music in the show. He created and performed his own "Drum Solo" act with humorous facial accompaniment.

Newcomer to Chico Cabaret, but not to theater, was 76-year-old Buddy Charles, with his snappy, appealing performances of old songs "Gigolo" and "Tootsie." Charles is not a newcomer to this type of entertainment, having joined a burlesque show as a singer/comedian at the tender age of 15. Over the years, he sang with big bands and still entertains on cruise ships.

Where else, but in Chico, can theatergoers experience such a variety of fascinating entertainment?

The "Holiday Burlesque & Vaudeville Comedy Show" plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 20 at the Chico Cabaret. Doors open at 7 p.m. Mature audiences only. Tickets are available at Creative Apple for $16 in advance, $18 at the door or by phone, 895-0245, with a credit card.

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