Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes at the Metropolitan Room by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes at the Metropolitan Room was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes
An Evening Of Song, Story & Striptease!

Metropolitan Room (34 West 22nd Street, NYC)
Reviewed 1/10/15 at 10:00 p.m.

Co-hosted by Witti Repartee and Cherry Pitz,
 Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes was a two-hour Vaudeville-style Variety Show featuring over a dozen elaborately costumed performers doing impersonations, burlesque, singing, storytelling and live acts leaving you eager to hear and see more. This lavish, spectacular show was great fun! It promised to "thrill, tickle, titillate & tease" and it delivered. Witti Repartee's Broads, Bawds & Bachelorettes was presented by command of Their Most Imperial and Sovereign Majesties Emperor XXVIII Tony Monteleone and Empress XXVIII Twinkle Montgomery of The Imperial Court of New York. It was truly an extravaganza of colorful characters who went all out to entertain the sold-out house of enthusiastic audience members. Witti warned Cherry the audience might not be so accepting of her being co-host since she was a biological woman, but Cherry was not deterred. She explained her pop was both a father and a mother to her. He was a Drag Queen. She also mentioned that from when she was very little, she got used to being booed on stage when it was discovered she was a "real girl". Cherry, whose character is a bit ditsy, insisted she and Witti had more in common than not because they were both redheads. 

The opening number had Witti and some of the girls singing "A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" (from
 Best Little Whorehouse In Texas) where we learn about Miss Mona's "no-no rules" and how the Congress folks from Austin and the Young Boys looking for sin come for "one small thrill" while we are assured there's "nothing dirty going on." Iris Explosion stripped, MargOH! Channing sang, and Robusta Capp did a spot-on impersonation of Cher. Other performers included Anita "Mother" Moorehead doing a duet with Elian Encounter, Natasha Carrington, Robin Kradles, and Ermine Muff. Cherry Pitz performed a monologue with Vincent Price off an old LP record, which also gave her the excuse to take off almost all her clothing. 

Worthy of special note was the appearance of Roger Anthony Mapes, whose
 Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour won a 2014 MAC Award in the category of Impersonation, Characterization and/or Drag Artist. Rev. Yolanda is also set to be inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame at B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill on February 11, 2015. She is definitely not just another pretty face, but her talent and outrageous form-rubber costumes (which we saw a blown-up photo of) make her hard to forget. Finally, the star of the show, in my opinion, was Neil Arthur James, who appeared as Dandy Darkly, a Satiric Storyteller who appears to have come to us straight from a 23rd century gig in a Star Wars cantina. His expressive, colorful style captivates the audience's attention. Dandy Darkly, known for hisGory Hole and Pussy Panic shows, was given 13 minutes to tell a story about two women living in the Shady Acres Nursing Home and how they came to be close friends. This moving tale draws in the audience and makes us feel as if we know them. I also thought it was a hoot when one of his characters, Fanny, confessed she was a witch but confirmed she was as "gay as an ice cream social"! I suggest you go out of your way to catch Dandy Darkly's next show!

Witti Repartee hosts a show of  this kind twice a year as a Special Event for the Imperial Court of New York. Witti, who was Empress XXVI a few years ago, noted that the audience was packed with friends of hers from many aspects of her life including her Drag Family, Leather Family, Kinky Family, Chorus Family, Family Family (including her husband), Weight Watchers Family and her Work-Family. There was also a 50-50 raffle and a progressive auction, which raised $748.00 for Iris House, which provides comprehensive services and advocacy for women, families, and communities infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, while simultaneously providing prevention and education services for its clients and at-risk communities. Boy Laney, Mr. Eagle NYC 2015, made an appearance and sang a song from Disney's movie
 Mulan acapella in order to raise awareness about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PeEP), which is a way for people who don't have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day (Brand Name: Truvada). When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. Boy Laney encouraged audience members to ask their doctors about this new HIV prevention drug.

The Metropolitan Room does not feature a large cabaret room. The seats and chairs are packed close together and I was unable to move or get up out of my seat for the entire two hours I was watching the show. The staff was extremely friendly as was my waiter Billy. But on a Saturday night, with one sold-out show letting out at the same time patrons from a second sold-out show are waiting to be seated, and everyone is standing in a narrow passageway while the staff handles the bills from the earlier show and cleans the room, you can expect to stand for 45 minutes to an hour before finally getting to your seat. Perhaps when the downstairs bar isn't being used as a Green Room, there may be an alternative waiting area for in-coming guests. Despite these minor issues, the Metropolitan Room features some of the best talent performing in cabaret today. I strongly recommend you check their schedule of upcoming performers and get down to see a show there soon.

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