T can take a few moments to get your head around exactly who’s who in Jinkx Monsoon and The Vaudevillians, the comedy cabaret making its Australian premiere in Melbourne as part of the Midsumma festival.
On the one hand there’s Kitty Witless, one half of a 1920s performance duo frozen alive while performing in Antarctica and thawed out almost a century later.
Witless is played by Jinkx Monsoon, a celebrated drag performer and winner of last year’s season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, who is in turn the brainchild of Jerick Hoffer.
The other half of the duo is Witless’ husband and pianist Dr Dan Von Dandy, played by frequent Jinkx Monsoon collaborator Major Scales, the alter ego of performer and composer Richard Andriessen.
Witless and Von Dandy are The Vaudevillians, a couple who awaken from their Antarctic slumber horrified to discover “their” songs from back in their heyday have been misappropriated by some of the world’s best-known musical acts.
Once a song for the suffragette movement, Girls Just Want to Have Fun has become a feminist party anthem. In addition, Drop It Like It’s Hot is no longer about the invention of the electric iron, but a chart-topping rap number.
Jinkx Monsoon and The Vaudevillians received rave reviews during its extended season off-Broadway in New York, and Hoffer told the Star Observer he was excited to bring the show to Australia, and to experience the country’s “distinct and thriving drag community”.
“A year ago I never imagined taking The Vaudevillians out of my home of Seattle, let alone travel the world and share it,” he said.
Hoffer said some of his favourite drag performers were Australian natives, citing Dame Edna Everage and LGBTI community favourite and Australian Idol alumnus Courtney Act.
Act was recently announced as a contestant on the upcoming season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, following in the footsteps of Hoffer’s Jinkx Monsoon.
“I think The Vaudevillians will deliver the level of wit and camp Australians expect from theatre shows and drag shows alike,” Hoffer said.
“I have heard about Australians’ unique senses of humour, and it will be great to see how the farce of The Vaudevillians is interpreted and enjoyed.”
Info: Jinkx Monsoon and The Vaudevillians is on until January 19 at St Kilda’s GH Hotel in Melbourne. For information and tickets visit www.midsumma.org.au