Thursday, March 1, 2018

PARTING THE RED CURTAINS



Written by Queenie van de Zandt Jan van de Stool and Peter J Casey
Presented by Neil Gooding and Amazon Woman Enterprises
Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to 1 March

Reviewed by Len Power 28 February 2018

Talented former Canberra actor/singer, Queenie van de Zandt, has hit the jackpot with her creation of Jan van de Stool, International Musical Therapist.  Advertising herself as an interpretive dancer, singing psychologist and musical masseuse, her show ‘Parting The Red Curtains’ apparently entitles her to also call herself a ‘Cabaret-Variety-Talk-Comedy-Game-Show Host’.  I don’t think anyone would dare argue with her.

I’ll take a chance and tell you that Jan van de Stool is a hilarious monster that eats audiences alive and takes no prisoners.  I’m sure Jan thinks she’s well-meaning and kind and a good teacher, but her enormous ego and unfortunate mangling of the English language as well as her tendency to be aggressively condescending at times, make it hard not to be really frightened of her.

The show is very entertaining and wisely moves quickly through various segments.  Interviewed by Jan, local actor, Amy Dunham, was a good sport trying desperately to field the most outrageous questions.  She did get the chance to sing ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from ‘Les Miserables’ which gave us the perfect breather from the comedy onslaught.

There were two parlour games in the show that we were required to participate in.  The first wasn’t too much to worry about but in a men only elimination round for the second game, two hapless survivors had to then compete onstage to find out who was Queanbeyan’s biggest HOMO (I’ve forgotten what this acronym stood for).  The guys coped surprisingly well demonstrating something to do with lubricants and other curious things.  You can learn a lot at the theatre, especially at a Jan van de Stool show.

Jan’s several costumes in the show are worth the price of admission alone.  The first had a blouse with a pattern that looked like it was designed by H.R.Giger of ‘Alien’ fame.  The final costume looked like she was planning to take on Brunnhilde in Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Jan confided that she was also a medium and was involuntarily channelling a woman who wanted to be onstage as a singer.  This gave us an opportunity to compare Jan’s rather unusual singing ability with the channelled woman who had a stunningly good singing voice.  You know, she sounded rather like Queenie van de Zandt to me…..

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘On Stage’ program on Mondays from 3.30pm and on ‘Artcetera’ from 9.00am on Saturdays.

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