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Down & Dirty

September 28, 2012

Down & Dirty; another great play at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater.  Vanessa Cate manages to transport the audience to an authentic Cabaret experience.  Throw in the dual nature of the show alternating between the Cabaret On Stage and the angst Backstage and you feel like you are witnessing an actual Cabaret from the ’30s and ’40s.

The play sequentially alternates between two main parts, the On Stage Cabaret which transitions through several Cabaret styles, and the Backstage scenes.  The Backstage scenes are full of the angst that Madam Director(played by Miss Cate) craves.  Taking you through the turmoil of stress and emotion that Madam Director, MC, and Chorus Girls go through in their day to day struggle to put on a show.  The On Stage scenes take you through the cornucopia of emotions the audience is meant to go through while watching a Cabaret.

From the start of the play you can tell it’s going to be a rough ride for Madam Director and her cast.  Their MC not having shown up forces Madam Director to take on the role as the Master of Ceremonies as a full on Drag King no less.  As the play progresses Madam Director lets her Dom side show as a way of coping with the stress.  Her Tom(submissive) is a sweet girl who dearly wants to please Madam Director even through all the verbal abuse.

As the play progresses the original MC shows up, and is forced to play a Chorus Girls in full drag.  A roll he claims to not want to take, but one which he was clearly born for.  Throughout the play the angst Backstage builds until Madam Director makes a drastic decision, one that you will have to watch the play to find out.

Once his secret is found out the MC returns to his role introducing each number still in Drag.  He does this by telling anecdotes that each have a life lesson.  Lessons we could all benefit from, but ones that we forget in the turmoil that is our daily lives.

The On Stage Cabaret is just as entertaining as the Backstage.  The show starts with an amazing number in which the Lead Singer begs the audience not to tell her mother what she is up to.  From there the Cabaret takes you through the various styles, from the French innocent fetish, through the German dominant fetish and everywhere in between.  The On Stage show mirrors the angst of the Backstage quite well.  The more angst Backstage the more the emotions and style On Stage would change.

The midpoint On Stage is an amazing cell block style number in which the Chorus Girls admit to murdering their mates.  Though as the song goes they had it coming.  The number was so well constructed that while the men in the audience might squirm at the thought of being killed by their lovers; they would have a hard time not singing along.  In the end you have to admit “They had it coming.”.

From there the Cabaret transitions to the surreal.  A mournful yet happy number marks the close in which the cast sings that life is hard, but in the end it’s worth it.  Through all the pain and sorrow.  The adventures, and memories of the joys past make it all worth it.

Down & Dirty is an inspiring and entertaining Neo-Retro Cabaret, showing you both sides of the coin and well deserving of a standing ovation and the close of the show.

To see this play and others like it visit

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  1. DOWN & DIRTY: 100% – SWEET : LA Bitter Lemons

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