Scratch & Pitz Burlesque and Variety Hour
nytheatre.com review by Martin Denton
February 23, 2012
Parsing the title of Scratch & Pitz Burlesque & Variety Hour tells you nearly everything you need to know about this entertaining show at FRIGID New York.
Pitz is Cherry Pitz, the burlesque alter ego of actor/writer/comedienne Cyndi Freeman, who has scored hits at FRIGID, FringeNYC, and many other downtown venues. Cherry Pitz sports big pink hair, a kewpie-doll voice, a winking sense of humor, and lots of determination. Oh, and she takes off her clothes (watch the spinning tassels).
Scratch is, well, Scratch—yep, the Devil himself. He's portrayed here with slick, sleazy charm by Brad Lawrence, who is best known in the indie theater world as a storyteller; here he stretches into the world of burlesque, serving as Emcee and eternal tempter of Ms. Pitz. The framing device of this show is that Cherry wants to star in her own variety show, just like Sonny and Cher. Scratch is here to make a deal with her so she can have her dream come true.
The rest of the title describes what happens during the hour running time. The emphasis is definitely on burlesque. In addition to Cherry Pitz, performers include Amelia Bareparts, Mary Cyn, and Lucille Ti Amore, each of whom has at least one opportunity to disrobe. Costumes, uncredited, are imaginative and lovely. Providing the "variety" are comedians Peter Aguerro (as a mama's boy ventriloquist and, briefly, a bewigged agent) and Rory Scholl (as "Roy Jay Twitty," a singer of risque folk songs).
Freeman's Cherry Pitz persona is delightful and fun and she and her colleagues deliver what's promised. Lawrence, as Scratch, advises the audience to behave as if they're in the subway: "If you see something, say something." The crowd at the opening night performance certainly did.