Stage Review: It's a Salon!

An invitation you should decline.

The ever-so-clever drag dance team of Cherdonna & Lou have a new show called It's a Salon! And that's "salon" in the anachronistic sense—it's intended as a gathering of the cognoscenti at the invitation of a local luminary. Only it's not a salon. This is self-indulgence on a scale rarely seen on any stage. According to the official Cherdonna & Lou website, our fair city is lousy with critics praising their "high artifice." Well, sure. And if you took Christopher Guest's solo dance performance as Corky St. Clair in Waiting for Guffman at all seriously, this salon is certainly going to set your senses a-tingle. But whatever it is they're selling, I'm not buying. Most of the excruciatingly long hour they spend onstage is pantomime, enacting the kind of synchronized movement that sometimes passes for modern dance these days. It's part cheerleading, part drill-team exercise, and utterly graceless. Absent some kind of explanation, it's completely baffling. For instance, Cherdonna (Jody Kuehner) breaks a bottle of champagne and takes an eternity to deal with it. Lou (Ricki Mason, with mohawk and chin-strap beard of glitter paint) spends some quality time with Old Glory that begins with a salute and ends with the flag being spat upon on the floor. Cherdonna crashes awkwardly through an assortment of table lamps, attempting to switch them on while balancing a food tray. Then there's the big crowd-pleaser: Both spread their legs akimbo and scoot across the floor facing the ceiling—with Cherdonna's well-above-the thigh skirt practically up at her waist. I doubt her gynecologist knows much more about her than I do now. There's barely a through-line here, merely a mockery of guests being entertained at a salon. For the price of a ticket, I can think of five places nearby where you can get two quality cocktails to help expunge what you just witnessed. One last thing: Even if Cherdonna & Lou may be able to lure friends and family into their delusion that this is quite brilliant, ahead of its time, and highbrow, I'm calling bullshit on it. It's a Salon! works on no level whatsoever. Real art has meaning. It also has structure; and it requires a degree of commitment which demonstrates that no matter how tight the budget, there's integrity at work somewhere. I could feed my dog glitter as an experiment in avant-garde entertainment, but I wouldn't have the temerity to call the resultant crap "art.

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow