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Review: LOLA at The Can Can

An uproarious show based on the disco hit.

Review: LOLA at The Can Can
The cast of Lola at The Can Can.
Photo credit: Nate Watters

Dear Readers, I think it's time for me to come out to you all. I am here to say that I am an out and proud fan of Barry Manilow. Yes, I'm a Fanilow. From "Mandy" to "American Bandstand" to "I Made it Through the Rain", I love them all. And, of course, there's the best, "Copacabana". Now take that fandom and combine it with my love for Seattle's Can Can and you'd think their current show would be a sure-fire hit. And you'd be right. "Lola" the latest incarnation from Artistic Director Chris Pink, Choreographer Fae Pink, the delicious folks at the Can Can is not only a hit but one of the best shows I think I've ever seen from them (and that's saying something) and one not to be missed.

To understand the story, you just need to know the song "Copacabana" as the evening is based on that story, but with a few lovely Can Can twists. You see ...

Her name was Lola, HE (Jonathan Betchtel) was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony (Richard Peacock) always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from eight til four
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the Copa. Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the Copa, they fell in love

His name was Rico (Shadou Mintrone)
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit too far
Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew, and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gunshot
But just who shot who?

That's the basics. But beyond that, add in the hilarious insanity of the rest of the cast, Jasmine Jean Sim and Hannah Mooney as fellow gossiping showgirls, other fabulous numbers and more scintillating flesh than you can shake a tassel at, and you have the wonderous evening, of feathered glee that is "Lola".

Review: LOLA at The Can Can
Jonathan Betchtel in Lola at The Can Can.
Photo credit: Nate Watters

As usual, Betchtel is our emcee but he's also there to lead us through his tumultuous past as the eponymous showgirl and he's in rare form. Not only keeping the crowd in the palm of his hand but also strutting around in those feathers and heels like the seasoned professional he is. The new costumes from Mintrone, especially Betchtel's are insane. And his final moments involving a large jungle cat and a pineapple are worth the price of admission.

Peacock as the love of Lola's life, Tony, has never been better or buffer. Seriously, I didn't think his muscles could get bigger but there you go. Plus, his vocals in his numbers have also grown. Each belt built upon the last making each moment surpass the last. He's definitely one "Hotta Chocolatta"!

Mintrone took on a more masculine role in this one as the suave Rico (or is it Rico Suavé?) to hysterical effect. And when she finally shows us what she's packin', well, you'll go ape. And the love triangle chemistry between Rico, Tony, and Lola was dangerously hot!

And then there were our two gossiping troublemakers who were not to be outdone. Mooney slayed us with her ode to tomatoes along with Peacock in a rather sexy tomato costume. (I'm telling you, Mintrone outdid herself with the costumes this time.) and Sim came along not only to show us how Lola was able to tempt and be tempted by these two hot men, complete with snake and apple, but then turned around to deliver one of the most stunning renditions of "Unchained Melody" ever.

The Can Can is constantly trying to one up themselves and they've done it again, and then some. This outrageous, hilarious, sexy, and touching show will go down as one of their absolute best and luckily you have much of the summer to catch it. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give The Can Can's production of "Lola" a Fanilow sized WOW. I was completely blown away.

"Lola" performs at The Can Can through August 28th. For tickets or information visit them online at www.thecancan.com.



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