News & Reviews from New York

August 16th, 2007

In her new show JOAN OF ARPpO, in which she plays the world's most entertaining washerwoman, Gardi Hutter, the acclaimed Swiss clown, gives us a true clown show with the classic tricks of the commedia zany played in her own unique character- a fat, frowzy laundress in a battle with inanimate objects, and gets carried away with extrapolations of simple movements which in
themselves are funny. Her imitation of a pile of laundry is not to be missed. With a superb sense of timing, a supple body under the fat suit, and a great understanding of the absurd and the ridiculous, her face alone beautifully communicating a clown's
reactions to the obstacles she encounters, this is a wonderful clown show for people of all ages-- the best of its genre.

Richmond Shepard-- Performing Arts INSIDER and

PRINCESS SHUNSHINE'S BITTER PILL of TRUTH FUNHOUSE, the creation of Juliet Jeske (script, songs, costumes, set), is a piece of Agitprop Theatre that skewers contemporary political and sexual targets with the accuracy of a Robin Hood- all in the guise of a kid's show. It's a children's show for adults only-- clever, raunchy, performed by a cast of four including the terrific Mime Joel Jeske (who created the puppets and props), and the multitalented singer/actress/comedian Juliet. It's one of the
funniest shows in town, with good clowning, good singing, and all characters played by Brenda Jean Foley, TJ O'Brien and the Jeskes are complete and basically hilarious as they satirically examine poverty, teen pregnancy and other topics. Director/choreographer Mark Lonergan has timed it perfectly so that it moves fast and continuously funny. This is top-level satire, and deserves the widest of audiences. Mr. Comedy Central-- check it out!

Richmond Shepard-- Performing Arts INSIDER and


August 07th, 2007

Donna Moore's new show at Don't Tell Mama, "The Cougar
Cabaret." Is a really entertaining cabaret act combining original comedy and song. The piece shows her as a funny, sexy "cougar," a woman who digs younger men. Her strength is in her playful comedy, in both song and action/patter, and she's got an
excellent foil in the good lookin' Danny Bernardy, a fine actor/singer who well fulfills his part. She has good jokes, makes great balloon animals at a children's party, and by the end is an adorable, uninhibited fool. Steven Borsuk, pianist, unobtrusively lifts the proceedings, and the totality is a show that leaves you chuckling and wanting more of this vivacious entertainer.

Tuesday nights at 7: PM The Duplex in Sheridan Square gives us a lively, high-level variety show with a wide spectrum of performers. All of the acts I saw were professional-- from a candidate for the show "Hairspray" to a Jewish country singer. MaryAnne Piccolo's strong voice and vibrant presence, the
dynamic, funny Anthony Valbiro's comedy and Mark Aaron James's gentle singing and humor were the high points for me. And even Judy Garland showed up in a rousing turn! A good time was had by all.

Richmond Shepard--


XANADU, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, is a hoot-- a silly Greekish musical fol-de-rol full of surprises, innovation, zany characters, action, design,
choreography, and has a dynamic duo-- two of Broadway's top stars in the leads: the beautiful, terrific singer with superb comic timing, Kerry Butler (and she skates), and the electrifying Cheyenne Jackson who played Elvis in last year's "All Shook Up," who shakes the house when he opens up his pipes. It's 1980, and muses arrive in Venice, California, from ancient Greece. With the strong, engaging presence of Tony Roberts, the wacky Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa as kooky wicked witch muses, this show,
adroitly directed by Christopher Ashley and hilariously choreographed by Dan Knechtges, brilliantly costumed by David Zinn (including absurd creatures from Greek mythology) and designed with spectacular use of a mirror by David Gallo, is full of
good-natured spirit, and is a totally entertaining romp. I'll be very surprised if Butler and Jackson aren't nominated for awards next spring.

Richmond Shepard-- Performing Arts INSIDER and

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