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Canada: Montreal , Quebec – Centaur Theatre’s Last Night at the Gayety

George Bowser and Rick Blue have an amazing way with words. True to the their well-known genre it’s the songs at Centaur’s Last Night at the Gayety, that really “sing”. They are just so darn clever. The play, about Montreal’s infamous years of “Casinos, Bordellos and Booze” (one of the songs) could have been formulaic, but manages to relate a story which not only keeps you interested, but giggling and titillated throughout.

A tale of this era could not be told without the usual suspects: the gangster, nightclub owner, priest and cops (the good and bad). The glue holding it all together is the famous stripper Lili St. Cyr. Julia Juhas is a knockoff, so perfectly cast; she elegantly glides across the stage dressed to kill in early 50’s fashions, yet bumps and grinds so provocatively with those sinuous long legs.

What could be wrong with a night of inside jokes, overacting, silly songs, erotic dancing, love, lust, murder, gangsterism and priestly disgust – all so definitively Montreal. Bowser and Blue make sure to point out, tongue-in-cheek this city was made for burlesque because there’s a main street named Beaver Hall Hill and the crossroads of downtown is after all, called “Peel”. Lili retorts that she prefers Las Vegas because its main street is known as “The Strip” (bada boom).

Centaur's Last Night at the Gayety