by David Foucher

EDGE Publisher

Tuesday June 5, 2007

Cashetta at the Crown
Cashetta at the Crown  (Source:M.J. Frauenheim)

Some performers are like magic tricks: the longer they're onstage, the better they get. Witness the comedic prestidigitation of Cashetta, in her second year at the Crown & Anchor; with a whole new bag of tricks (plus one crowd-pleasing old standard) mixed with a more comprehensive connection with her audience, this drag magician is coming into her own self-created spotlight - and she's worth the ticket.

What primarily sets Cashetta's 2007 show apart from prior years is her willingness, ironically, to get off the stage. A significant portion of her one-hour show is spent rubbing elbows and cracking jokes with audience members; previously, there were two queens on Commercial Street who managed that feat with any success, and Cashetta's adoption of their methodologies shows not only a studious determination to elevate the appeal of her own show, but also the breadth of her talent. She's a triple threat, as they say: she can sing, make 'em laugh, and pull rabbits from hats.

As to the first, she's not on a par with Varla for sure; but her vocals are hardly the focus here - moreover, Cashetta carries a tune quite well, and her songs are delivered with well-rehearsed zeal. On the comic front, she now has the chops to not only keep a joke rolling indefinitely, but her ad-libbed repartee with her audience can often be killer-funny. Part of her success drives from experience; wear a dress long enough, and you'll inevitably inherit an overdeveloped sense of humor and wit through osmosis. It would seem, however, that the better part of her knack for comedy comes from her fearless approach to the structure of her show. Not only does it differ dramatically from year to year (always with the exception of her closing trick, as stated), but it might just differ dramatically from show to show. Clearly her illusions and songs are scripted in order, but I got the distinct feeling that as a performer, Cashetta is open to the unique energy that sweeps in the door with her audiences.

Which brings us to her third threat: magic. No doubt many readers have dabbled in the art of illusion at some point in their lives; and no doubt, when confronted with the steep requirements - primary among them the focus to train, over long periods of time, each minute physical movement needed to perform a flawless illusion - you've probably quit. No performance is easy, per se, but the art of applying makeup pales in comparison to the long-term intensive training of an opera singer or a magician.

This year, Cashetta brings a new suite of comic illusions to the stage; the limitations of the small stage prevent full-fledged trunk illusions (although her climactic rope trick certainly astounds), but oversized tricks are not required here. Her most charming - and by far her simplest - illusion arrives courtesy of a whiteboard and magic marker. In that trick she stands alone on the stage; but be warned: if you sit near the front of the cabaret, you're liable to be pulled onstage and incorporated into some wildly funny magic.

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, is a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his daughter in Dedham MA.