By guest blogger Joey Lico
At 8:30 pm at the beginning of the weekend, a hush falls over the candle-lit Leonard Nimoy Thalia. Over a microphone, a female flight attendant encourages passengers to order drinks: sex on the beach, rim jobs, panty rippers, buttery nipples. Blue papers rise from the audience to call the bartenders.
Enter the cast of Keigwin Kabaret, gliding around the stage with the angular fluidity that Larry Keigwin has perfected since his days dancing backup on Club MTV with Downtown Julie Brown. The performers, led by Ying-Ying Shiau, humorously pantomime airline safety instructions; buckling safety belts, pointing to exits and securing oxygen masks while the audience laughs with familiarity. The dancers’ depiction of flight attendants is the only subtlety of this sexed-out variety show.
What can you say about a performance that ends with a naked, voluptuous, blonde woman, who also happens to be a female-impersonator spread out on stage like a star fish? “The World Famous Bob” turns to show the audience her jewel-encrusted vagina and the theater explodes into thunderous applause. Keigwin Kabaret has kept its promise to entertain.
With guest appearances by Ambrose Martos, the clown-haired, sex-centered Master of Ceremonies; Bradford Scobie-a lasso wrangling, chicken- violator and Scott Lyons a paraplegic cross dressing version of Disney’s Ariel; Keigwin Kabaret is a show with a distinct sense of humor. Trying to make sense of it all ruins the spectacle. Between the sex, glitter and hip-hop aura that is characteristic of Keigwin’s choreography, these random acts segue between the dance pieces.
Keigwin Kabaret photo by Matthew Murphy
At one point Martos takes up an entire 2 minutes teasing the audience by taking off fourteen pairs of underwear. Is this a clever way to kill some stage time or a well-crafted comedic interlude of Keigwin’s design? Either way, this mélange works and we’re all fascinated eagerly awaiting the next carnal display.
Dancer Ashley Browne moves with such a smooth funk during a rendition of Unk’s chart topping, “Walk it Out” that it’s almost shocking when she unfolds and extends her leg next to her ear in the following piece, moving with utter grace and classical control. Nicole Wolcott shines throughout the entire show; her perfectly toned body dancing each movement with ferocity. She makes tongue wagging as captivating as Keigwin’s intricate footwork.
There are delicate moments as well. Shiau brings an unrelenting tenderness as she is softly passed from the arms of one beau to another. She’s so endearing that you almost forget the scene has been set with her rise from among a circle of men, bathrobes open, as though she has just finished giving each of them a blowjob.
Only one moment seemed out of place. Liz Riga’s solo comes across as a downer among the slapstick pieces we have otherwise been presented with. Although she moves with command and obvious talent, her angularity and severity foil the fun. The woman who walked out in the middle of the brilliantly sung lyric “one mans omelet is another man’s son” might have appreciated Riga’s homage to the choreographer’s alter ego as the head of Keigwin + Company.
Perhaps the intent is to remind us that not everything is fun and games. But the audience isn’t prepared and people let out only singular stifled chuckles in support.
But grin and bear it all with laughter we do for the entire 2 hours. By seamlessly blending contemporary, hip-hop and comedy under the umbrella of sexual promiscuity, Keigwin manages to put together a well-crafted work. On balance, it feels like a great way to spend a Friday night.