Sunday, February 1, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Barbara A. Malley in Eat, Drink, Be Merry at Don't Tell Mama by Andrew Martin

This review of Barbara A. Malley in Eat, Drink, Be Merry at Don't Tell Mama was written by Andrew Martin and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

"Eat, Drink, Be Merry" - Barbara A. Malley

Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 1/25/15 at 3:00 p.m.

It's always a snappy surprise to walk into a club with little expectation, to see a show by an older performer of who you know or have heard basically nothing, and then see perform a thoroughly delightful and charming hour of entertainment. So it goes with Barbara A. Malley who, with her most recent show
 Eat, Drink, Be Merry at Don't Tell Mama, came off as not merely an absolute pro but someone whose show should be seen solely for an hour of thorough escape, and the chance to just feel marvelous. This tribute to the glory of aging (yes, the glory, not the downsides), is brilliantly directly by Jay Rogers with musical direction by Ricky Ritzel, and when it returns there it absolutely deserves a look and a listen. It's not the greatest vocal prowess to be found in cabaret, and perhaps occasionally pitchy, but that's wholeheartedly beside the point; Malley is clearly having such a good time on that stage that the audience to a man can't help but begrudge her the pleasure.

After getting things off to a rollicking start with the title song by Keith Thompson, Malley at times proves captivating on such comical numbers as "In A Disney Way" by Michael Bruce, Kander & Ebb's "The Elephant Song," and "He Had Refinement" by Arthur Schwartz and Dorothy Fields. But she's equally adept with such ballads as "Blame It On My Youth" by Oscar Levant and Edward Heyman, and even gives pop music a try with James Taylor's "The Secret Of Life." In addition, she showcases original material as in the case of "White Girls Don't Sing The Blues" by Sue Matsuki and Gregory Toroian, and by the time she winds up with "Go Visit Your Grandmother" (also by Kander & Ebb), she's got the audience eating out of the palm of her lovely little hand.

Barbara A. Malley will return to Don't Tell Mama on February 24th at 7:00 p.m. and she's wholeheartedly worth the fifteen-dollar cover charge (with a five-dollar discount for MAC members) and two-drink minimum. By all means, visit the show and prepare, if not to eat or drink, to be very merry.

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