Frank Olivier calls his new show “TWISTED CABARET & Pandemonium Vaudeville Show,” so right off he gets points for honesty.
This is not your wistful reminiscence of the old Orpheum circuit and the Singing Sisters of Spain.
Olivier, like a slightly bent variety arts chef, cooks up a blend of entertainments into a wildly funny show. He’s got a 3 piece band and the wickedly clever emcee ‘Unkle’ Paul (Paul Nathan), who give the show a polished look. Bandleader Nolan Gasser composed most of the music used in the show, and Unkle Paul is just about as twisted as Olivier, himself, offering a comedic counterpoint and some great material.
Where Olivier is innocently malevolent, Unkle Paul is like the kid down the block who won popularity with his seemingly endless access to adult novelties. He seasons the act, and helps it move quickly and seemingly effortlessly.
Olivier’s always on the very edge of disaster, constantly giving the impression that the next juggling club will brain him, the fire won’t go out when he sticks the flaming sword in his mouth and the beautiful dove really has been reduced to a mound of feathers by an inept magician.
He offers some devilishly inventive version of old show-business warhorses.
His knife-thrower has an Eastern European accent, of course, but he has also separated from his wife and target, and takes his angst out on the new target; he is a yoga master who take the old show-business wish “Break a leg” far too seriously; he performs his acrobatic dance standards with a hapless audience member he has pulled from his seat and thrust on-stage; and his big finish includes guitar playing and juggling aboard a unicycle that reaches nearly to the ceiling.
It’s one of those shows that works so perfectly wonderfully you’re surprised nobody had come up with it before. But fortunately Olivier is the one who did — because he does it all so tremendously well.
– Pat Craig