A Parent’s Review: Moisture Festival Comedy Varietè
The man sitting one row away from me perfectly captured the mood of this rollicking¸ ridiculous, hilarious event that is the Moisture Festival. He wore a pink flamingo hat, knee-high tie-dyed socks, a kilt and strings of Mardi Gras beads (which he proceeded to give out to all the kids sitting nearby).
Dubbed the world’s largest comedy/varietè festival, it runs four weeks each spring in our fair city, bringing aerialists, jugglers, comedians, dancers, rope acts, bubble acts, clowns, acrobats, can-can girls, strong women, strong men, tap dancers, drill teams, musical numbers, and “the weird and the wonderful.” All I know is this: Rarely have I laughed so hard during a show to which I can bring my kids. I’m talking tears running out of my eyes laughing (credit to father-and-son clown act from Germany, Hacki and Moeppi).
What I love about the Moisture Festival is it’s low-tech, interactive (at one point between acts the MC plucked a tween from the audience and asked him to balance a peacock feather on his chin) and human-scale. It has that old-timey vaudeville feel. At our show we saw an aerialist artist, a cowgirl doing rope and whip tricks, an amazing hand shadow artist, clowns and a rhythmic gymnast who, at one point, was completely covered in undulating hula hoops. (Parents prepare: We saw lots of kids at intermission trying out their $5 trick ropes after watching Karen Quest, “America’s Funniest Cowgirl.”)
The circus-like atmosphere is set the moment you approach Hale’s Palladium, with a painted clown adorning the entryway, costumed ticket takers and a live band (Doc Sprinsock and the SANCApators at the show we saw). Kids can sit on the floor in front of the stage or join the rest of the audience in rows of folding chairs.
You can go more than once to the festival and see an entirely (or at least mostly) different show – more than 100 acts and 200 performers rotate through the line-up. (Click on the performance date on the festival website to see the specifics of who’s performing in a given show.)
A few tips: The Palladium’s cavernous space can get chilly, so layer up people. It’s open seating; doors open half an hour before show time. Shows run two hours with a brief intermission. Snacks include $1 popcorn bags, soft pretzels and more substantial fare, such as pulled pork sandwiches and bratwurst. Hale’s brews are on tap. Merch includes $5 juggling scarves, trick ropes, feather fans or a $3 foam clown nose.
There’s a smallish fenced lot (beware some mega potholes) just beyond the Palladium toward Fred Meyer, or look for street parking.
If You Go...
Where: Hale’s Ales Palladium, 4301 Leary Way N.W., Seattle. (Note: Broadway Performance Hall at 1625 Broadway in Capitol Hill also hosts a 3 p.m. family-friendly comedy/varietè show on Sunday, March 31 and Sunday, April 7.)
When: Until April 14. Family-friendly comedy/varietè shows at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The 7:30 p.m. shows (Wednesdays through Sundays) are geared to all ages, but may not be as “family friendly” as the matinees.
Admission: Adults $20, children 12 and younger $10; tickets at the door or online at www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
Contact: www.moisturefestival.com; 206-297-1405.