At the FireBird Café
Reviewed by David
Roberts for Theatre Reviews Limited
gets more and more difficult for cabaret performers to find "hooks"
to hang their programs on. The effort to find a title is not only a convention
of organization, it is an attempt on the singer's part to assure the audience
they are not in store for the same standards they heard the night before at another
venue from the repertoire of another performer. Sometimes these "hooks"
are misleading, sometimes meaningless, sometimes downright deceptive.
the case of Lorna Dallas, the title of her show "Glamorous Night: Lorna Dallas
Sings the Music of Kern and Novello" is certainly an apt description of what
Ms. Dallas has to offer in this acclaimed London production which she has brought
to the FireBird Café for a limited run. If anything, in this case, the
title is limiting since no epithet could properly express the sheer energy Lorna
Dallas is capable of when she stands before an appreciative audience.
Dallas does not just sing, she personifies the words and music she chooses to
perform and she does the "act" with a sense of conviction and a degree
of depth that invades the audience with irrepressible energy. Throughout, she
manages to point away from herself to the talent of Jerome Kern and Ivor Novello
and the glamour that was their auspicious collaboration.
audience is treated to "In the Heart of the Dark,""London, Dear
Old London," Waltz of My Heart/Waltz in Swing Time," "All The Things
Your Are," "Dark Music," " Paris Reminds Me of You/The Last
Time I Saw Paris," and "My Life Belongs to You/Love Made the Song."
arrangements of these songs (by Christopher Denny and Barry Kleinbort) are brilliant
(as is Mr. Denny's work at the piano). Mr. Denny, Mr. Kleinbort, Mr. Bob Renino
(bass) and Ms. Dallas are a formidable creative team and the height of their creativity
comes in the showstopping numbers that highlight Kern's and Novello's collaborative
"Bill" from SHOW BOAT (1927) and "Left All Alone Again Blues/The
'Have You Forgotten Me?' Blues" secure Lorna Dallas' place as a master of
interpretation and song styling and as a fine actor. In "Bill" Ms. Dallas'
subtle movement from doubt to certainty is convincing. And her choice of the Novello-Wodehouse
collaboration "Nuts in May" from THE GOLDEN MOTH (1921) gives the audience
an opportunity to experience Lorna Dallas as a skilled comic actor as well.
none of this prepares the audience for the closing songs which are sung with a
joyful woundedness and a vulnerable diligence. "You Are Love/Look in My Heart"
from the early SHOW BOAT (1927) and the later VALLEY OF SONG (1964) and "Once
in a Blue Moon," the Kern-Caldwell collaboration from the 1923 STEPPING STONES
make Lorna Dallas' appearance a once in a life time experience. Lorna Dallas and
the FireBird Café are perfect together. Let's hope she can stay on "this
side of the pond" a bit longer.
on Thursday, March 9, 2000
Night" Lorna Dallas sings the music of Kern and Novello. Musical arrangements
by Christopher Denny and Barry Kleinbort.
by Barry Kleinbort. Musical Direction and piano by Christopher Denny. Bob Renino,
bass. Presented at the FireBird Café, 365 West 46th Street between Eighth
and Ninth Avenues. Remaining performances: Friday, March 17th at 9:00 p.m. and
There will be a $30.00 cover charge and a $15.00 food/drink minimum.
For reservations, call (212) 586 0244.