NOT PICTURED: Amanda, alternating between "sound, no sound, and something more painful than no sound."

As if this theatrical engagement needed any more drama. Our spies ducked back into the Zero Arrow Theatre this weekend and caught a doozy of a performance by the Dresden Dolls -- one that had some seasoned theatregoers wondering whether the strain of eight performances of The Onion Cellar per week is doing real damage to Amanda Palmer's voice. Our sources emerged from the performance with the following conclusions: 1) "Brian is phoning it in," and 2) "Amanda, even with her songs transposed down, alternates -- when she opens her mouth --between sound, no sound, and something more painful than no sound." Yikes. The show has had a commercially successful run despite (perhaps because of) reports of creative tension, which may be a hard sell in drama but is always an upsell in rock and roll. The critics -- mainly theater types with limited exposure to everyone's favorite cabaret punk icons -- gave it a thumbs up.

In any case, the show is headed into its closing weeks: and, come hell, high water, or laryngitis, you're invited to join us and four of the Dolls' favorite bands for the Onion Cellar cast party this Friday at the Middle East. HUMANWINE, Casey Dienel, Corn Mo, and Sleepshell are on the bill, with a couple of un-announceable special guests in the works. We'll have a couple list spots later in the week, stop back for details -- or go over here to win tix.

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