Glenn Medeiros and Frank DeLima draw on Waikiki's night life for one big hoot fest. Photo by George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin

Hooray for Waikiki's
comic fodder

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

"BRASSY" is a word not generally associated with Glenn Medeiros. Not until now. Medeiros' work with Frank DeLima in their new show "Hooray for Waikiki" is another quantum leap forward. If quality automatically equated ticket sales, the Polynesian Palace would be filled to standing room only capacity. This fresh new show is the one to see.

Medeiros opens hard with a sophisticated high-energy parody of the stereotypical anthem "Hooray for Hollywood." It could be his best character number to date. Start with a tacky-chic costume - garish Waikiki fashion-outlet aloha shirt, silver-gray cummerbund, sun glasses, pork pie hat, etc. Add a persona that is half Hollywood sleazoid, half Vegas lounge act. Medeiros takes it far over the top with a brassy aplomb that would do James Seibel proud. It's an amazing transformation.

DeLima presents another variation of his impossibly big-busted hula dancer. Guitarist Robert Nishida narrates and David Kauahikaua provides the rest of the orchestration as the two Pochos "salute" the place where, as Nishida says, "large male entertainers perform in drag," and the two biggest entertainment attractions are magic and celebrity impersonators.

DeLima has long been able to unite visitors and residents rather than dividing them. He does that in a different way this time by subtly satirizing the odd transformation of Waikiki into a miniature Las Vegas without gambling; contributor Patrick Downes has done some of his best writing ever.

DeLima and Medeiros reprise that theme with the finale. Tentatively titled "You Know Why You Have Come to Waikiki," it is a brilliant reworking of "Colors of the Wind" that is both more insightful and far less precious and plastic than the original. They should record this gem immediately.

The magic of magician David Coppertone (Medeiros) is fast and visual. Medeiros captures the overstated theatrical attitude perfectly. The illusions don't all work all the time but all are entertaining; Medeiros recovered beautifully from a miscue last Friday.

Medeiros is clearly more comfortable and accomplished as an impressionist. DeLima excels with the comic stuff. His Tita Turner character is a classic; the latest set of lyrics to "Proud Mary" plays on his girth while introducing visitors to the "tita" in local folklore. (Her Hawaiian name is Pitbullani.)

DeLima works in audience participation as Tita Turner and later as Don Ho. The Ho segment is clever but a bit long.

Meanwhile, a cartoonish caricature of Elvis is mercifully just long enough to get the laugh.

Other highlights are popular sumotori Lolobono (DeLima) dancing hula, and Cardinal Vermicelli (DeLima) and Monsignor Sicola (Medeiros) again shilling anthology albums to raise funds for the Vatican (a k a "the old Pope's home.")

DeLima is again exceptional in explaining local ethnic humor without lecturing; he diplomatically avoids mentioning groups known to be touchy about such things.

Medeiros also shines in a short segment showcasing his international hits.

Hollywood goes Hawaiian

What: "Hooray for Waikiki," with Frank DeLima and Glenn Medeiros
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Where: Polynesian Palace,Outrigger Reef Towers Hotel, 227 Lewers St.
Cost: "Parking rate" of $19.50 includes one cocktail
Call: 923-7469
Note: Economical pizza, sushi and bento menu available; validated parking at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center is $3

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