This review of Paul Hallasy's "Addicted To Love" at The Duplex was written by Andrew Martin and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause! published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens.
"Addicted To Love" - Paul Hallasy
The Duplex (61 Christopher Street, NYC)
"These days, I only go to shows where I've heard of the performer," I recently told a friend, who asked me to bring him to a recent act by newcomer Paul Hallasy at the Duplex. And it's true - if there's one thing this critic has learned, it's that you just can't see everybody and now there are so many people to see. However, I enjoy discovering new talent as much as the next guy. Plus, the show was directed by Linda Amiel Burns with musical direction by Bryon Sommers, and those two points alone seemed to make it worth catching.
I regret to say I'm rather sorry I attended. The direction and musical direction were solid; in fact, the direction and musical direction were perfect. However, these elements only served to heighten what was in fact a painful experience for the viewer/listener. Paul Hallasy has a voice that, coupled with a series of jerky head and shoulder movements on this all-pop set, entitled "Addicted To Love", would be far better suited to Violent Femmes-style cover bands at Don Hill's Squeezebox. Of the twelve excruciating selections, only the ballad "Baby's Got Blue Eyes" rendered this show a barely-passing grade, and even that's an overstatement. A section near the act's end with a quick change into Dusty Springfield drag was, in fact, the absolute nadir; for us Dusty Springfield fans, this section was first embarrassing, then disrespectful, then anger-inducing. It's not even that this show wasn't ready to be reviewed. It simply didn't work.
Paul Hallasy can be redeemed as a cabaret artist...with better material, better command of the stage, and some serious time to think. Apparently, the gentleman is a novelist with an ever-growing cult, and is therefore not without intelligence. This critic might well attend his next show just to see if some requisite changes have been made.