The All-Female 1929 Skidoo Review
In writer-director Eugene H. Butler's sentimental variety show, Meme (Audrey Marlyn), a former vaudeville star and her great granddaughter Jordanna (Jenna Zillman) visit the elder's theater the day before it's to be torn down for a Starbucks. After a grating stretch of exposition where Jordanna 'fesses ignorance of Jack Benny, Playbills, and the Great Depression, Meme closes her eyes and the curtain rises. Butler doesn't initially make a strong argument for vaudeville's right to life; the opening ditty's high point is a girl pretending to be a rooster. Yet the cast has able voices and energy to spare. Some bits are too shrill for the small space,and the dancing is tentative, but the comedy skits perk up the act, particularly a cornball serial melodrama about a wife (Marian Tomas Griffin) who ditches her broke husband (Heather Wood) for the landlord (Kristi Leigh Snyder). That back then white women sang the Blues was news to me, as two years earlier, Al Jolson slipped on blackface to do the same. Nevertheless, nimble piano player Billy Revel plinks along without missing a beat. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m. Starts: Feb. 22. Continues through April 13, 2008
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