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Review of TheatreVirginia's production of "Scandals"

Footlights

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At first blush, it would seem that vaudevillian humor has little to offer audiences of today. Just think of the jokes your Grandpa used to tell. Clearly, what was funny in the old days is just corny now.

Well, blush again. Sure, the content of vaudeville humor may be too mild to get a giggle in these racy times. But the form itself is still going strong, and that's what TheatreVirginia is banking on to sell "Scandals."

"It's that whole idea of comic sketches [as opposed to a single plot-line] and musical numbers ... like the variety shows of the 1970s. Carol Burnett, Sonny and Cher ... they sort of amalgamated that form," explains Ronda Hewitt, TheatreVirginia's public relations manager. In fact, two of the most popular forms of comedy today have their roots in vaudeville: stand-up comedy and TV sitcoms.

Hewitt likens the humor of TV's "Seinfeld" to vaudeville humor. "The plays on words, double entendres, double-takes... it's a form that's very basic," she says. Like the character of Kramer (Michael Richards), vaudeville characters were well-developed because the actors worked on their shows for so long — sometimes performing four times a day. And even when the characters become predictable, audiences never tired of them. "It's like with Kramer," Hewitt says. "We know how he's going to walk in the door, but we still tune in to watch it and it's funny every

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