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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 4, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 49
Unwrapped not the holiday present we were hoping for
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Unwrapped not the holiday present we were hoping for

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

JINKX MONSOON & MAJOR SCALES:
UNWRAPPED
SEATTLE REPERTORY THEATRE
Through December 13


Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales are a unique duo. They have achieved heady success as a drag team who are talented enough to sing their own songs and compose and write and perform smart material and witty banter. Last year, they performed a critically acclaimed show at the Seattle Repertory Theatre called The Vaudevillians.

The premise of The Vaudevillians was that this couple was frozen in the 1920s and somehow unthawed and brought back to life in present time, all faculties intact. They then go back to their prior business of performing '20s style vaudeville music. It was expansive, over-the-top and quite enormous fun!

It was still mostly a 'bar act' and probably a bit better with a bunch of booze in you, but it worked surprisingly well in the more staid environment of a major theatrical venue. I guess that was why they were invited back for a 'holiday' show, or perhaps more precisely an 'anti-holiday' show.

They are now performing Unwrapped. This is a brisk 60-65 minute show that has an unfortunate premise: Jinkx Monsoon is not a fan of Christmas and has been forced to perform a holiday show. Major Scales tries to keep her going and is enthusiastic, but Jinkx mostly throws tantrums before getting to the generic audience-interaction moment in the middle of the show.

Jinkx, the alter-ego of performer Jerick Hoffer (a Cornish College of the Arts graduate), is a great character. She's ego-driven and devil-may-care and was compelling enough to win 'RuPaul's Drag Race' during their hotly contested Season Five.

Major Scales, the alter-ego of Richard Andriessen (also a Cornish College of the Arts graduate), has thrived as Jinkx's performance partner and often composes songs for the two of them to sing. In Unwrapped, rather than sing a lot of holiday songs we already know, Andriessen has composed some fun new music that is holiday or anti-holiday related.

If you have never seen the pair, you might well enjoy the show and their quirky relationship. The new songs are a smart way to go, rather than bore an audience with classic holiday music. But these talented performers don't seem to have worked all that hard to make an evening they can be proud of. It's thin on content and seems to skate entirely on their prior work.

I think they're better than this material, and if you're cranky about the holidays yourself, there aren't enough laughs here to help you feel better when you walk out of the theater. From what I have seen of the ticket prices, they are another reason why you might feel a bit cranky; if you've paid a good chunk of change for the show and after an hour you don't feel like you've gotten your money's worth.

Since a good deal of their act is improvisational, it may depend on the evening and maybe I was there at a time when Jinkx was struggling. But the idea itself, of a put-upon and bitter performer who doesn't like the holidays, is pretty stereotypical to build a show on, and it needs a great deal of extra thought to make it succeed more than this one does.

For more information, go to www.seattlerep.org or call 206-443-2222.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters. More articles can be found at miryamstheatermusings.blogspot.com.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet presents a marvelous new production of a great classic
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Unwrapped not the holiday present we were hoping for
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Rihanna's 'The Anti World Tour' descending to Key Arena in April
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Niki Trumbo - an interview with Dalton Trumbo's daughter
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Gage Academy of Art presents the 16th Annual Drawing Jam on Dec. 5

The annual family-friendly event includes live music, models & free art supplies

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Singers Nora Michaels & Victor Janusz - 'together again for the very second time!' - will offer an Intimate Holiday Concert

'CHARISMA NOEL!'

Singing Only the Holiday Songs They LOVE at this Special Time of Year

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Seattle LGBT Community Center
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Cranston's magnificence allows Trumbo to soar
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Kid-friendly Dinosaur a beautifully animated fable
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Spellbinding Brooklyn a romantically charming treat
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Misty Copeland's ballet Tale worthy of a look
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