How often can someone impress you before you begin to expect it from them?
When looking at King Rear playing Commissioner Gordon, on paper it is easy to see a veteran we have weekly access to in the role of someone dismissed as an afterthought (comparatively) in the Batman hierarchy.
Despite being the first supporting character in the Batman ethos as well as second best detective in Gotham, Jim Gordon often comes across as being so rooted in our own reality that he leaves little left for the imagination. Often a comedown from the catalyst of action and excitement that is the Batman, it was not until recently that the character of Commissioner James Gordon developed an edge and subsequently gained some ‘cool’ factor.
In fact, in a lot of respects it took a television show in the Batman universe that has next to no actual Batman in it to finally give Gordon his dues.
However, much like ABC’s Gotham, there was no Batman in the Geekenders’ production. It is for that reason that the biggest surprise to come from The Uncaped Crusaders: A ‘Batlesque’ Tribute to Batman, probably shouldn’t have never been a surprise at all.
Like Rebel Valentine, King Rear was also two weeks removed from the Prince Burlesque tribute performance. And like Valentine, King Rear was in gameday form with his graphic depiction of the long standing GCPD Commissioner. Set in the Gordon residence, seemingly after a long shift protecting the streets of Gotham, Rear brilliantly performed a disturbingly fiendish act of fetish to the soundtrack of Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Sticks”. If King Rear’s routine was not the best solo acting performance of the show, (as well as absurdly funny) it is most certainly in the conversation.
While it stands true that all of the songs Friday night found a way to tie into the characters performing to them, at least in some small way. The silliest and therefor most fun song choice of the night went to WhatsHerName for her selection of Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”. In the character of the Killer Croc, much like Kitty Glitter WhatsHerName showed a profound level of comfort on the large Rio Theatre stage. Exuding confidence and giving the impression of having logged several hours performing on stage prior, WhatsHerName took the quote ‘dance like nobody’s watching’ to another level and straight-up killed it with her dancing and lighthearted spirit she brought to the usually serious Croc.
It may forever remain an enigma as to why Kitty Glitter was afforded the roles of Scarface and Edward Nigma. However, what was no puzzle at all, was Glitter’s Eddie Nash impression. Performing to Thomas Dolby’s “Blinded Me With Science” Glitter was poetry in motion as the character made famous by Frank Gorshin, The Riddler.
The enticing special guest star of The Uncaped Crusaders: A ‘Batlesque’ Tribute to Batman was used as a promotional aide for the show, and for logical reason. Her depiction of catwoman licking the day’s milk out of a saucer on the ground made Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle look like Chris Kyle, dead.
Riannaconda must have gotten her paws on some Looplabs because the leather clad Catwoman fancied herself a bit of a DJ. Sampling the audio from the first death of Ms. Kyle from Batman Returns Riannaconda mixed it with “The Dance of The Sugarplum Fairies” as rearranged by the Jingle Cats. The jaw dropping Riannaconda’s next audio move was the unpredictable act of splicing the audio she had with the song “20th Century Boy” by T. Rex. Moving like a cat and charging like a ram, Riannaconda’s Catwoman routine stripped Pamela Isley’s title of loudest crowd reaction on the night, leaving Ivy to lick her wounds.
In one of the finer segues in the show, the three hosts welcomed the addition of Babydoll and Creeper and launched into the D-list Rogue’s Gallery rendition of “Kidnap The Battyman”. A true Geekender’s original song sung to tune of “Kidnap The Sandy Claws” from A Nightmare Before Christmas.
As if our cold hearts were not still reeling from her Mr. Freeze routine, the nerdlesque troupe decided that the Batman Burlesque production needed Scout Starling to provide an additional helping of Harley Quinn. Appropriately, Starling had hearts swooning and audience members swaying to the Kadebostany cover of the Beyonce / Jay-Z smash-hit “Crazy In Love”. If audience members were not crazy in something for the beautiful Harley Quinn, there were flatout crazy.
Knowing The Mad Hatter would have to get in there at some point, it came as little surprise that Jervis Tetch did so to the tune of “The Unbirthday Song” From Alice in Wonderland.
What was unexpected and quite frankly unwelcome was the musical crazy-train (the likes of which Randy Rhoads would take the first flight away from) that ensued. To spare the reader the agony, I am simply going to put the songs that were mashed up in order, keeping in mind that they mix into each other at a sometimes fernetic rate.
“The Unbirthday Song”- Alice In Wonderland
“I’m Going Slightly Mad” – Queen
“Crazy”- Gnarls Barkley
“Basket Case”- Green Day
“Bad Hair Day”- Weird Al Yankovic
“Joyeux Non-Anniversaire”- Alice In Wonderland
“Where Is My Mind?”- Pixies
“Flagpole Sitta”- Harvey Danger
“I Ain’t Got Nobody”- Marion Harris
“Something There”- from Beauty and the Beast written by Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach and David Ogden Stiers.
Note: The song mashup was enraging, writing these credits has me looking for the Mad Hatter’s eyeball so I can go Batman: The Dark Knight Returns on him.
“Alternative Polka”- Weird Al Yankovic
“Ruler of Everything”- Tally Hall
“Skullcrusher Mountain”- Jonathan Coulton
“Joyeux Non-Anniversaire”- Alice In Wonderland
And what show could truly be called ‘gratuitous’ if it failed to include another mash-up of songs by a third Robin on the night? Playing the role of the original Robin (Dick Grayson) was the accomplished and Miss Dee Twenty. In her comical performance that included more than one scolding from a Christian Bale with a throat infection sounding Batman, Miss Dee Twenty showed considerable range running the gamut of emotions with her performance. Complimenting Robin’s tormented routine was the sounds of Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin”, “My Immortal”by Evanescence, and from the Nine Inch Nails debut album Pretty Hate Machine, 1991’s “Head Like A Hole”.
A deserved shout-out goes to the two lovely hench-people that cleaned up after each act, one of which did nothing to clean the mind’s of the worked-up crowd.
There you have it, an entire hour and a half show plus intermission of very well coordinated Batman inspired burlesque. A show that took place in a Batman-universe including three Robins, two Penguins, two Harley Quinns and nary a single Batman, Bruce Wayne or even a Matches Malone.