Ten Foot Rat Cabaret
Various Performers -- Produced by Rob Dub and Gregory Levine
Under St. Marks -- 94 St. Marks Place; New York, NY 10009
The Ten Foot Rat Cabaret impressed me again with a solid line-up of talented performers at Under St. Marks Theater. This theater, Under St. Marks, and the Ten Foot Rat seem to represent some of the edge that nostalgically lingers over New York’s streets. I’d say it’s a must-see variety show of strong acts for anyone who lives in the East Village especially considering you get them all under one roof for one of moonlit Manhattan’s best deals. This line-up featured the stalwart Guilty Pleasures Cabaret girls in some of their classy dance routines as well as the return of the darkly mesmerizing Shayfer James.
Shayfer James opened and closed the night and certainly put us into a trance starting off with an intense, “Oh your time is coming fast and the ferryman only deals in cash.” If you expected only comedy and a taste of burlesque, then you might have been in for a dark surprise. With a little bit of a parlor room, upbeat piano over which James croons sweetly in a husky voice about murder, it’s a little like sitting in on the in-house entertainment for the Adam’s Family’s annual ball.
Tough to follow that up with comedy? I’m not so sure especially for Melissa Aquiles who made it easy to laugh at a drunken santa left over from last year’s santa con. The audience joked around with her too as she went through the trials of being that typical “frat boy” who went too far. Having been that far gone myself a few times (as has the rest of the audience maybe), there were a lot of moments to chuckle at one’s own blunders.
Appearing again for the Ten Foot Rat was also the excellent Gregor of Berlin. No one handles the anti-joke with such stunning alacrity as the character’s creator, Gregory Levine. As he talked about the tribulations of poor Rudolph and bemoaned the sadistic traditions of Christmas fables, we were lured into the quiet cunning of Levine’s mastery of the art form. Once again the lesson? Live! Live your life to the fullest! Just seeing one of Levine’s sketches of Gregor of Berlin is worth coming to the Ten Foot Rat.
Another awesome sight to see was the Guilty Pleasure Cabaret girls. These dancers put on a revolving sequence of skits that are often holiday and seasonally themed. Their talent for acrobatics, timing, and ability to do all of their complicated skits in the middle of the night time after time make them one of my favorite acts in New York. Truly a pleasure to get a chance to see them work and to see what intricate costumes they’ll dance in next!
If Shayfer James’ hadn’t started us off with dark, then Noam Osband’s skit would have certainly added it. It was an easy one to laugh/cringe at. He sang about love from the perspective of Hitler’s wife, Eva Braun. It doesn’t get much more convoluted than that as one might simultaneously hope the heroine gets her love whilst knowing that she loved…yeah…
Before the Guilty Pleasures girls and Shayfer James, sent us off into the night with another dance and song respectively, Pamela Wess performed one of the most clever burlesque asks I’ve seen. As a clown, burlesque dancer, she attempted to perform a strip tease and constantly failed to do so. She easily found a space that combined funny and sexy although without the clown nose it may have been hard to figure out.
Hope you get a chance to see the Ten Foot Rat Cabaret! They’re a good group of people including host, Jillian Thomas, whose wise cracks about Canada versus the US have only gotten more nuclear ammunition as of late. Get ready for the next show in this monthly series tonight, January 13th!