Pitch Perfect Petch

Cathy Petch brought us the Bum’s Rush at The Cameron House after a smash run in Peterborough. The inventive vaudeville show structure allows Cathy to wow us with her ability to play the saw, sing, dance, tell stories while deconstructing gender, identity expectations & home repair (when is a saw not a saw: when it’s a personal entertainment device). Smartly staged in the backroom at the Cameron House, the space was perfect for the vaudeville house feel. The SRO house also added to the feeling of a crammed, dusty old theatre.12cath01As her character Mel Malarkey says at one point ‘The body you’re born into may not reflect the person inside it.’ This vaudeville production you see reflects more than the acts perform. Text, subtext, meta-text all flow together seamlessly in CP’s MM. One need not know any of the subtest to enjoy the entraining structure of the show.12dclt02Mel hosts, talks between acts to a dressing room mirror (us as the audience are in the place of the mirror), fills in backstory. On stage Mel shifts between characters, accents & even interacts with the other ‘performers.’ I love the eye to eye moment with the Dancing Donkey. Mel sings, plays the saw, impersonates Dietrich at one point, revels in the opportunity question our perception of gender, the struggle of being a woman dressed as a man who knows what a woman wants.12yellow08The show was well researched. I particularly liked the inclusion of The Dumbells: a WWI Canadian army entertainment troupe that specialized in female impersonators was a resonant choice for this show. It’s always heartening when lgbtq history is used this effectively & subtly as the same time. 12red04Cathy Petch performance was animated, touching and flush with he joy of being on stage. I am tickled when a performer clearly loves what they are doing. Em Glasspool, director and accompanist, was the perfect piano playing Greek chorus. This is a show that deserves to be seen by more SRO audiences and I hope it finds its way into the Fringe, or Summer Works and then gets expanded for a full blown Pantages run.

samplesend song

the float of cups spoons
moons leaves
wet midnights broken by laugher
left to reflect on the puddles
red sticky slicks that caress the stage
invite the applause of over-hanging gaspers
soon to be disgraced with apologies
wondering not aloud

what if this isn’t the moment

to leap up once and for all

get it over with
no beginnings only ends
only a bar counter to wipe ready
for weary prisoners to stop rest gripe
about the fairness of their sentence
how they deserve what they want
and they want it now piping hot
heaped dishes of freshly chopped
branches of moon strung stings
to replace the end of things

we all know that end is looming
bigger than that pole-dancer’s ass

that hovers over your out-stretched glass
another drop pretty pretty please
please squeeze harder we know you can do it
before the song changes
it has to be on that note
the universal choir
chasing clouds of notes around
looking for the car keys put down in a hurry
your car running in the garage

who is in the back seat drifting
as the red slick sends
reflection of spoons to the moon
each prisoner barely turning
in their stools asking
are we up to guessing what comes next

dancing donkeys

or the end of things

 

money

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