Comedy, curves galore at The Golden Palace

On Friday, April 25, graduate student Jeff Andrews and senior Gavin Price debuted their bawdy play, The Golden Palace, in Brodie's Black Box Theatre. A sort of musical burlesque show, The Golden Palace progressed from sexy, fun and engaging to unnervingly horrific.

Despite writer and director Andrews' comment that he "wanted to move away from any Moulin Rouge theme," the two plots nonetheless seemed rather parallel. In the case of The Golden Palace, the play acted as an intensified, raunchy twist on the famous film.

The familiar plotline tells the story of The Golden Palace: a down-n'-dirty burlesque house within which sin prevails and love does not exist. That is until Molly (junior Norma Butikofer), the highly desired new girl, falls in puppy-love with the other sweetheart newbie, Elliot (senior Nick Moran). Of course, once they've decided to run away together, all hell breaks loose in the cathouse.

The play itself was belly-laugh funny with its well-done vulgarity and fantastic comedic acting. Andrews played the crass, sharp-tempered Madame Boobette while Price took on the role of Virgil, the ever-sloshed band leader (and Boobette's paramour). The roles were made for these guys. In fact, I don't believe I've ever found a drunkard and a cross-dresser more wildly entertaining.

Each of the musical numbers were a show all their own, complete with pertinent choreography and powerful vocals, all backed by the awesome, strung-out saloon band, Virgil Hinchcliffe's Treble Clefs. The Treble Clefs' personal number sounded like a moniker for the whole play, as they belted out "Lewd and Crude and in the Mood." The upbeat song was riddled with dirty jokes called by various band members that had the whole audience rolling with laughter.

Additionally, the solo burlesque number performed by Dismarkee (senior Christiana Shorter), was simply outstanding. Her song, "Whips, Chains, & Love," was slow, sensual and moody, allowing her soulful pipes to belt out something so glorious I had goose bumps all over.

Another crowd favorite was the tap number by senior Alex MacDonald. Referred to simply as "Boy," MacDonald played Boobette's "bitch." I don't think a single audience member - male or female - could help but swoon while Boy enthusiastically flailed and stomped right along with the fast-playing band.

With regards to the ending, Andrews explained, "I wanted to make sure there was a twist that made it sort of unique." He sure wasn't messing around. Though the humor in The Golden Palace was crude, it still managed to be somewhat lighthearted. The end was an entirely different story, with rape and murder and zombies all culminating with Madame Boobette quite literally burnin' down the house.

The ending completely blew me away, leaving me quite shocked. Nevertheless, The Golden Palace was an extremely fun rollercoaster ride of a production.