Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Bugle Boys, Oct 28 2015 ***
Written by John Livings Chapel off Chapel, until Nov 1 2015 Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Wed Oct 28, 2015 Stars: *** Full review also published Herald Sun on Friday 30 Oct 2015 (p87). Should be online at H-Sun on Monday Nov 2. KH
The Bugle Boys L-R: Maxene (Jon Jackson), Patty (Michael Dalton),
and LaVerne (Andrew Dessmann)
servicemen sporting 1940s wigs and blue, satin army uniforms doing a parody of
The Andrews Sisters in a World
War II Concert Party and you get Bugle
This spoof, written and directed John Livings, features
three local singers in drag playing the famous wartime sisters, Maxene (Jon Jackson), Patty (Michael Dalton),
and LaVerne (Andrew Dessmann).
responsible for tribute shows about Etta James and Marvin Gaye, but Bugle Boys
is a naughtier, less respectful mockery that relies on caricatures, cheeky
repartee and innuendo as much as it does on memorable songs.
is bumpy, cueing needs tightening and the writing of comic banter is a little
flabby, often predictable and almost always spicy and suggestive – just like a
performers do plenty of eye rolling and mugging to the audience to heighten the
jokes but better comic timing would give the gags an edge.
by Mark Jones provides strong harmonies, although they are obviously not as
close as The Andrews Sisters’, while Greg Riddell playing piano on stage gives
a zippy accompaniment.
Jackson’s Maxene gets progressively more soused as she/he sucks
on her hip flask of Bundy and totters clumsily across the stage, but his
falsetto singing (Maxene was the soprano) is one of the highlights,
particularly in I Wanna Be Loved and Bei Mir Bist Du Shön.
Dalton, who is known for his drag character, Dolly
Diamond, gives Patty a wheezing, earnest quality as she leads the trio in its
repertoire of tunes and narrates the details of their chequered childhoods and
Dessmann’s LaVerne is sassy,
dim and, according to all their gossip, promiscuous, which makes him seductive
and salacious as he sashays around the stage, singing and dancing his saucy
choreography (Jeremy Hinman).
There are plenty more songs to appeal to devotees of
The Andrews Sisters, including: Rum and Coca-Cola, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Is
You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby and, of course, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, with a
real bugler onstage.
You won’t get a genuine homage to the Sisters in
this one-hour cabaret/comedy but, if you like a drag-show parody, Bugle Boys
may suit your taste.