Sunday, June 15, 2014

OMG! Its…The DONNIE Show—Triangle Productions!—NE Portland

Hereeeees, Donnie!

This original production is conceived and directed and designed by Don Horn, Triangle’s Executive Director and Founder.  It runs through June 22nd at their site at 1785 NE Sandy Blvd.  For more information, go to their site at www.tripro.org or call 503-239-5919.

I have to confess that without a program a reviewer is somewhat lost.  So, if I get names, dates, titles of songs, wrong or missing, etc., I apologize.  But, with that in mind, on with the “really big shew,” as Mr. Sullivan would say.  Yes, this is a type of talk/variety show that might have existed 40+ years ago.  It is a bit of afternoon talk show, via Merv, or the edgier, late-night variety, via Johnny.

And, since there really is no story, and much of it is made up on the spot, my review will chronologically   go through the show, giving a rating for each segment.  One * meaning Poor, up to five ***** meaning Excellent.  The pre-show had Donnie’s side-kick and Musical Director, the fabulous, Jonathan Quesenberry and his band (who must remain nameless because, as mentioned, no program).  But they did a good job of warming up the audience.

My favorite moment being a rendition of “Memories” from Cats.  Band rating ****

Then we move into the lowest point of the show, a comedian called “Craig Tamblyn” (sp?) came out and did a comic (?) routine of what is called “blue” material, or X-rated jokes.  It fell flat, as evidenced by the only occasional titters from the audience.  It would barely get * and that is because it was probably a gal dressed up as a guy telling sexist jokes about women…interesting.  But the good thing is that the show goes uphill from here.

The Donnettes (Dana Thompson, Lydia Fleming & Jalena Montrond) appeared throughout the show doing their best Supremes aping and were terrific.  Lovely to look at and listen to ***  All these acts are interspersed with Donnie (Don Horn), the show’s host, chatting with guests, discussing topical issues of the day, introducing acts, and kibitzing with his sidekick, Quesenberry.  But more about Donnie later….

Then came the fabulous James Shareninghousen, reprising a song his alter-ego did, a type of Muppet, from their extraordinary, Avenue Q.  They have reprised this show once, both to mostly sold-out houses and promise to do it again.  Mr. S. is always good ****  Then a young fellow named David came on and did a number, “In the Box,” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch ***  He said he was auditioning for the lead, as Don says he may produce it some season.  He’s got my vote.

And then there is the ever popular, Golda (Wendy Westerwelle), from the many, essentially one-person shows she does every season, talking about her husband, Saul, and her many views on people and life ****  She’s wonderful and very funny!  And “Angel” a “female illusionist” or drag queen, belted out a couple of numbers that rocked the house.  Especially fine was the number, “Big Spender,” from Sweet Charity.  ***

Gary Wayne Cash, who I’ve touted in a couple of my reviews of him, is always an asset to a show.  He and (I’m just guessing now on his partner name) Lisa Marie Harrison (?) did a number from Jonathon Larson’s play, tick, tick…boom, (which will be done next season at Triangle) the author of the award-winning, Rent.  Cash also did an impromptu number of a woman’s song, “Adele’s Lament,” from Guys and Dolls.  A super actor and performer ****  Mitch, from the band, who plays 50+ instruments, was involved with a couple of semi-solo numbers and played a Shami-san (sp?), a sort of three-stringed, Japanese guitar, strummed with what looked like a type of carving knife.  And he played a number on a coffee cup, too.  Super talent ***

There were also audience-participation games, such as a variation of the card game War, where you might get damp if you were sitting in the wrong place, and a guess-the-price game, where one had to guess the real price of an item which, at the Dollar Store, was only a buck.  Fun. **  Then, a surprise ending, which I won’t reveal, in which a mirror ball was involved and Donnie appeared unlike his usual self.  A fun end to a fun evening.

Did I forget anything?  Oh, yes, Horn’s rating *************************************  He’s a treasure and deserves everyone of those stars!  His plays have always been entertaining, of a very professional quality, and also extremely thought-provoking!  Maybe we’ll see him again onstage someday.  Pass the word, his shows are not to be missed!
 

I recommend this show but it is very adult in content and language.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.