Monday, November 28, 2011

Applause! Applause! Review of Vickie Phillips & Barry Phillips by Andrew Martin

This review of Vickie Phillips' show "To Grandmother's House We Go" at Don't Tell Mama and Barry Phillips' show "A Gentleman Sings -- Volume 4" at Danny's was written by Andrew Martin and appeared in Volume I, Issue 1 (November, 1997) of Applause! Applause! published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens.

Phillips Scores In Cabaret...And So Does Phillips
Don't Tell Mama & Danny's Skylight Room (NYC)

Strictly by coincidence, Restaurant Row played host to two equally impressive cabaret performers in October, both with the surname Phillips. And whether it was Vickie Phillips' show, "To Grandmother's House We Go", at Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street; 212-757-0788), or Barry Phillips' "A Gentleman Sings -- Volume 4" at Danny's (346 West 46th Street; 212-265-8133), a splendid time was had by all.

The aforementioned Ms. Phillips, who debuted the show at the club in June, gets high marks for her inventive choices in material: such novelty numbers as the pithy "Monopoly" are balanced by a striking reading of Jacques Brel's "Marieke" and the chanteuse's ever-excellent delivery of Maltby & Shire's "Life Story." Overall, the show provides a marvelous showcase for Vickie Phillips, a gifted cabaret entertainer who shows why she's deserved Bistro awards and MAC nominations. It should return to Don't Tell Mama in the near a just world.

This critic had never seen Barry Phillips in a full-length show, but had heard positive accolades for the last several seasons, and the hearsay is wholeheartedly justified. Phillips combines a fine ear for vocal arranging (as evidenced on such numbers as "Misty") and nearly-heartwrenching ability on bluesy pop ballads by Stevie Wonder and Edgar Winter. In addition, a key element that sets Barry Phillips' "A Gentleman Sings -- Volume 4" apart from most other cabaret acts this season is its sense of innate intelligence, the very fabric of which this show is woven. Whether the show, or Barry Phillips in his next program of songs, return to a club near you in the near future, get thee there.

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