The Happiest Medium Review by Guest Contributor Linnea Covington
If you have ever had dreams of your dolls coming to life and doing a sexy strip tease, this show is for you. Produced by two-time FringeNYC winning performer and playwright Cyndi Freeman with storyteller Brad Lawrence, both whom are burlesque performers, Scratch & Pitz Burlesque and Variety Hour proved a comical hour of pretty girls, awkward men, song, and a tantalizing strip-off between our heroine and the Devil. That’s right, the Devil. Played by Lawrence, who goes by Handsome Brad in the burlesque world, the Devil comes on stage dressed to the nines with the intention of garnering a few souls for his collection. What he didn’t reckon was facing off against Cherry Pitz, played by Freeman, a pink puffy-wigged aspiring variety show host who is a combination of Lady Gaga and Fran Drescher with just a splash of Jersey Shore.
The show starts out with the basic rules of burlesque, helpful hints for those who haven’t ever seen this type of show and might not know what to do. Just remember, as Lawrence belted out, “If you see something, say something.” After that the hoots followed and for good reason—the show is chock full of fun, sexy acts and the performers obviously were having a good time. Which brings me to the only thing off about the show – most of them looked like they were about to bust out laughing. Of course we did a few times but especially in the ventriloquist scene with BTK Band dancer Amelia Bareparts and Moth GrandSlam champion Peter Aquero. Hands down this was the best act as Bareparts played the dummy, guided by a fat, socially inept man who is trying to blossom through the power of his wooden doll. The scene runs so smoothly that while you know Bareparts is a real live girl, at times you can’t help but wonder. Things take a turn for the naughty after the Devil enters the scene and our poor ventriloquist gets more than he bargained for. Thank goodness.
Other acts include a lion-taming bit (featuring Bareparts again) with Lucille Ti Amore. Mary Cyn got a turn as Cherry Pitz and the Devil’s daughter, which features a deviant dress change as daddy’s sweet little Chastity strips down to become mommy’s little Chaz ala the Bono family style. She might not look like a man in the end but Cyn sure looks hot in leather shorts, an outfit she sure didn’t sport in her ballerina days. The show is also peppered with acts by BTK Band’s Rory Scholl, a folk musician who belts out tunes about an abusive woman (or was that his guitar?) that treated him badly…hard to tell but either way hilarious.
As a producer and performer with Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, Freeman got into burlesque late in the game, about 10 years ago in fact when she was in her late 30s. Now 47, she displays the same pizzazz and energy as her younger counterparts but mixes in a sophisticated plot line. The narrative she and Lawrence presented on stage not only proved whimsical and fun, but actually told a story. But don’t be fooled: it’s definitely a sweet, sassy, and sexy story.
~~~Scratch & Pitz: Burlesque Variety Hour Company: Heroics in Hotpants Directed by: Cyndi Freeman & Brad Lawrence Feb 26, 7:00PM Feb 29, 10:30PM Mar 02, 4:00PM Mar 03, 8:30PM $10.00 The Kraine Theater
The 2012 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL will run February 22-March 4 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Ave and Ave A). Tickets to all shows may be purchased online at www.FRIGIDnewyork.info or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444.