I have a shameful secret to admit to you, reader. First, I have two other reviews I should write before this one (if I were doing them in chronological order) but I’m doing this one first so you can be sure to rush off and buy yourself a ticket quicklike. Second – the worst – I held off writing this review until I could buy myself a ticket to go back. See, I didn’t want to tell TOO many people how good it was, because I was afraid tickets would sell out before I got mine bought. So I held off an extra two days writing this while I waited to get confirmation on a date from some friends and secure said tickets (closing night, not the cabaret seats as they STILL sold out, but still, they are bought). And only NOW am I going to tell you: Victor/Victoria blew me out of my wobbly little schoolroom chair at the Southwark Playhouse, and if you are a fan of musicals, gay culture, sexy chorines, tap dancing, or an ASS KICKING GOOD SHOW, you had better jump on over to their website and get some tickets stat.
I haven’t actually spent that much time analyzing this show and more time reveling in its meaty (and airy) pleasures. The music, I think, is not perfect: I left with no earworm and this to me is a bit of a failing. But the songs were generally very good, they moved the story forward, and they accompanied wonderful dance numbers.
And, my, the SHOW pieces, the “Victor/ia in her glory” pieces, the decadent 30’s cabaret pieces that fit so beautifully in the crumbling brick arches of the Southwark Playhouse vaults, I was transported back into a slightly imaginary Paris that had more rhinestones than I might have expected and all, all of the unrequited love and smooching boys and smart-aleckery, wit, and zing I could have ever hoped for in any musical performance or place. The imaginary made the real become better and was transported. We WERE in a Paris drag night club and those were REAL dancers doing backflips and if the world was falling apart around us, well, one night of joy was what we all deserved before going back out in the cold.
Anna Francolini as Victoria: gorgeous voice, heartbreakingly torn, a smash. Richard Dempsey: talented in this as much as Shakespeare, a whiz of a flirt, and a showstopper in a sequined dress. Good god. Did you read this far and you haven’t bought tickets yet? Get on it before they’re all gone! (And look for me in the front row on closing night – I’ll be the one in the black diamante evening dress with the Sally Bowles smile.)
(This review is for a performance that took place on Tuesday, November 13th, 2012. The show continues through December 15th.)