BATETTE: THE GOTHAM FOLLIES OF 1939 - The Montalban Theatre

Review by Nyla Arslanian

We arrived not quite knowing what to expect.Billed as  The Batette: The Gotham Follies of 1939, a Russall S. Beattie production in association with The Montalban,  it was clear that most of the opening night audience was in the know, so to speak. Dressed in an eclectic assortment of attire, these folks came to party and, as the night progress, weren't disappointed.

Prior to "curtain," images of a variety of scenes from film noir to the macabre appeared on screens around the theatre. Yes, this was going to be an interesting evening.

Opening the show Dayna Madison beautifully dressed in a cascading gown delivered an opening number designed more to set a mood that to get the audience revved up. Her beautiful voice and demeanor hinted subtlety of what was to come.

What followed was a variety of acts including burlesque, comedy, vocal performances and dance.  Beautiful women enter clothed, slowly disrobe taking the appreciative audience on a sensual journey. Again, the costumes, scant of course, enhance rather than erotic create the scene.

Interspersed among the lovelies a retro burlesque comedian enters who performs his schtick, hitting all the bases, slightly missing a mark that seems more designed than intentional.

Created by Australian impresario Russal S. Beattie (The Empire Strips Back, Jaded Vanities, Dames of Throne), as the show moves along entertaining a very appreciative audience, it's noteworthy not only for the talent and titillation, this is a show worth seeing if only for the beautiful costumes and imaginative characters.

Still it's the outstanding voices of Dayna Madison as Batwoman, Linsay Farris as Mr. Freeze and Saeed Renaud as Penguin that takes everything up a notch. Linsay Farris' Two Faces performance is amazing. Don't try to make sense out of anything, there isn't much of a theme, but the appreciative and cheering audience clearly is there for exactly what the show delivers.

                Reminiscent of the Ziegfield Follies (should anyone be alive to remember it) or perhaps a Las Vegas review, the outstanding ensemble of dancers not only perform the burlesque numbers, they add more than glamour with their dancing and movement. Again the staging and costumes for these numbers is a treat.

                One of the last numbers is the most whimsical and entertaining as Batman and Robin enter and proceed with a raucous tap number accompanied by, yes, the chorus of lovelies. All leads up to a grand finale.

                As we left the theatre sort of in a daze with what we had seen, we recalled that just a block or so up Vine Street, the Ken Murray Blackouts at what is now the Avalon was one of the longest running shows in Hollywood. It was variety with a bit of burlesque thrown in, and like what we'd just witnessed, blackouts between numbers and acts, it seemed very fitting that Batette had arrived in Hollywood. We hope it has a successful run.

Running through July 28, 2024,  The Batette  Follies of 1939 , Thursdays at 8:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and 10:00pm, and Sundays at 7:00pm. Attendees must be 18-years or older to enter. The Montalbán is located at  1615 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90028 . For tickets and more information, please visit

Tickets for the entire run can be purchased at .

Posted By Nyla Arslanian on June 26, 2024 06:48 pm | Permalink