Insert obligatory ‘Cabaret’ lyric here

My most recent Fringe outing was to Tuesday’s late-night presentation of “Naked Cabaret.” As they say repeatedly in the show, “Not that kind of naked – emotionally naked.”

This is the central concept holding the show together – performers Terri Allen, Steven Cupo, Emily Leatha Everson, Judy Simmons and Lonny Smith are supposed to be people together for some sort of group therapy / discussion session, as are we the audience to a lesser extent. On entering we were all asked, nay, ordered to provide a secret on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar. Over the course of the performance they’re picked out and read, though at a few junctures what’s really said are turning points for the overall plot of the show. One of the ones we submitted was never read, though all the items made it out of the jar by the performance’s end, so we know some were discarded.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs
As a unifying concept I give this a firm -eh-. I enjoy show tunes (shut up) and the concept isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it didn’t work for me. All the songs are emotionally revealing to some extent but they range from funny and irreverent to borderline heartbreaking, a range of emotions and revelations from the characters that doesn’t completely jibe. The more emotional songs, considered individually, mostly didn’t work for me either, for the same basic reason I think: I just didn’t care about those people, so what if they hurt? I’m not sure that’s a fixable problem in a ensemble cabaret – we’re all there for the singing, too much exposition and plot is, to me, a distraction from the real purpose. So how to invest the audience in their troubles? Damned if I know, and perhaps it was only an issue for me, the Man Without Empathy.

That said, all the singers were all good and none of the songs are complete clunkers. Steven Cupo apparently can turn all his extremities into rubber, based on his performance during (yes, really) “How Lovely to be a Woman” and Lonny Smith’s “Someone to Fall Back On” is one of the few more serious songs to work for me. The other was Judy Simmons’ rendition of “I Won’t Mind,” a song about a needy woman’s attachment to her friend’s kid. While it seemed like it needs some more context it was rendered with great depth here. Emily Everson’s selections didn’t work as well for me, though I was amused by the odd “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals” and her pushy/bubbly character was seamlessly acted. Terri Allen’s standout piece was “Younger Men,” a bit of a retread on what seems to me to be the Stella-Got-Her-Groove-Back kind of material that’s gotten a little tired lately, at least to me.

Unfortunately the work realities of deadline hell kept me from getting this out before the last show of the run, tonight at 6pm. But then again, who the hell can make it to a show by 6pm anyway?

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


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