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WHOOP-DEE-DOO!, Royal George Theatre Center Cabaret. This campy revue gives new meaning to the phrase "out of the closet." Originally performed off-Broadway, it was conceived by east-coast costume designer Howard Crabtree as a showcase for his collection of wacky costumes. These in turn inspired the flamboyantly weird designs of William Buster, Robert N. DeWitt, and John Randle, which adorn the ten-man cast of this production. A very gay cross between a drag-queen Ziegfeld Follies and the old New Faces shows, Whoop-Dee-Doo! features songs and sketches by a team of writers who delight in putting odd twists on classic Broadway shtick. You want a torch song? Here's one by a moth drawn to a "Blue Flame." You want a Merman-esque musical? Here's "Nancy," a transvestite tribute to the reign of Reagan. You want patriotic platitudes? Here's a mock USO show satirizing the military's antigay anxiety, with some soldiers dressed as steak and potatoes and others as fruits. You want South Seas exotica? Here's a mini extravaganza, hosted by a Margaret Mead type, examining a tribe that worships such goddesses as Streisand, Midler, Merman, and Garland.

These and other novelty numbers are performed in a spirit of disarming silliness that buoys the hilarious routines and enlivens the weaker ones. The cast members (well accompanied by pianist Deborah Abramson) are competent clowns obviously having a great time. But the delight here is the outlandish, outre clothing, which gives glitz-on-the-cheap just the right touch of lunacy.

--Albert Williams

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