Not so nasty

Lovely Ladies Singing Nasty Little Songs

Directed by Ilona Vellios
Shooting Star Theatre
40 Peck Slip, South Street Seaport (791-7827)
Non-union production (Fridays at 8 p.m. through May 11)
Review by Doug DeVita

There is something so cozily delicious about the Shooting Star Theatre space that it keeps one in a buoyant mood even when the production in question is less than stellar.

Not to say that Lovely Ladies Singing Nasty Little Songs, the recent cabaret offering in this living-room like theatre, was awful - Barry Cummings and Anita Brown were lovely ladies, and they did sing their nasty little songs with a certain infectious bravado. Cummings, big and booming, and Brown, wispy and winsome, did not possess the world's greatest voices, nor did they offer subtle or insightful new interpretations of their chosen material (including the almost inevitable Brecht and Weill songs made famous by Lotte Lenya, another lovely lady with questionable vocal ability). But they were so earnest in their desire to please, and they looked as though they themselves were having such a good time onstage, that criticism seems beyond the point.

So what if they didn't hit every note they aimed for - they did come damn close to most of them, and before the evening was 20 minutes old, the audience just grinned and surrendered to their slightly amateurish, unselfconscious, and totally irresistible charm.

Alternating performances at the piano were Woody Regan and Sue Maskelaris. On the evening the production was reviewed, Maskelaris proved an invaluable asset. A gifted musician and singer in her own right, she offered an impeccable, jazzy accompaniment, while her own nasty little song was a true highlight. She should have her own evening - perhaps at the Shooting Star, a space that welcomes and coddles its audience with elegantly informal comfort.

(Set, costumes and lighting uncredited.)

Box Score:

Writing: N/A
Directing: 1
Musical Direction: 2
Performance: 1
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2001 Doug DeVita