Chezz and Taizz reviewed! 2007

Chezz and Taizz reviewed!
Originally republished (in Steve Cheseborough blog) 3/21/2007

Old-time vaudeville revived in mirthful, mixed acts
Review: Miz Kitty’s Parlour shows off more than parlor tricks, though
the result can be tedious
Monday, March 19, 2007
The Oregonian
The building may have changed, but the parlor’s still the same.

The vaudeville and variety show Miz Kitty’s Parlour moved to the
Mission Theater earlier this year, but, as Saturday’s performance
proved, the long-running pageant’s retained its grab-bag mix of acts,
from the musical to the comical to the harder-to-classify, all
presided over by Miz Kitty — aka Lisa Marsicek, of the old-time band
Flat Mountain Girls.

That eclectic approach is the both the show’s strength and its
weakness: Though the variety, surprise and irreverence are welcome,
the blend doesn’t always work. Saturday, for example, the parlor
included a hula hoop dance troupe, the whirlyGirlz. Impressive, sure;
it’s decent odds most in the audience hadn’t even picked up a hula
hoop in years, much less danced choreographed routines while spinning
one about the neck, waist or other body parts. But the Girlz, in
tight, midriff-baring outfits, didn’t quite fit the show’s old-time
vaudevillian aesthetic.

In the strength column, though, list such acts as the Stomp Down
Rollers, comprising guitarist/vocalist Steve Cheseborough and
vocalist-harmonica player Taizz Medalia. The two had an unassuming
easiness that drew the audience in, and their humor pretty much nailed
the vaudeville vibe. The song “Hot Nuts,” for example, was both sweet
and sly, the former for its delivery, the latter for its broad double

Somewhere in the middle was the Cavalcade of Beautiful Losers from
Opera Theater Oregon. The Losers performed a mix of pieces, including
a pretty accurate five-minute version of “Faust.” The opera let the
troupe show off voices and insight (they’re right, Marguerite is a bit
of a twit). But their performance was longer than merely the
mini-“Faust,” and the rest of the material felt thrown together,
especially in comparison. For the last song, the woman who played
Marguerite was still in what she called her “Baby Jane” makeup, which
made it a lot harder to buy her singing Diana Krall’s “Temptation,”
though she and the singers on backup were in good voice.

Even Miz Kitty herself could be hit or miss.

Marsicek was often funny and charming, as when handing out “rare,
exotic” door prizes, but sometimes her humor felt a little labored,
especially the leprechaun jokes. Yes, it was St. Patrick’s Day, so
some Irish jokes were to be expected. In the parlor, those jokes took
the form of two men dressed as (quite large) leprechauns coming on
stage whenever Marsicek mentioned St. Patrick’s Day, Irish things, or

Unfortunately, the joke got, not just old, but obvious. The gag would
have been funnier if it had incorporated more surprise; if, say, the
leprechauns had started appearing for less obvious words.

But we are quibbling here: Even at Miz Kitty’s Parlour’s weakest, it’s
still warm, willing to take risks and a barrel of laughs —
vaudeville, Portland-style.

Luciana Lopez: 503-412-7034;

(c)2007 The Oregonian

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