Spotlight On Presents
TALK ABOUT YOUR ENCHANTED EVENINGS!!
Reviewed by Allen Nicholson.
I recently saw a terrific show (Late Night Erotic Cabaret), a delightfully scandalous review which aptly portrayed its title! Hosted by its Director, Frank Calo, who resurrected his hilarious character, Francis Xavier Winston III, to introduce the acts and supply snappy asides. F.X. Winston, III usually appears with beret and cigarette holder looking very continental, but on this occasion he made his sweeping entrance in a white ice-cream suit, reminiscent of the Old South. He was accompanied by two very handsome and lithe and handsome trophy boys, Miki Alvarez and Noriel Galiano, who also served as on-stage managers and were clad in leather shorts, vests, socks and little else!
Up first was Armored Guards, a piece concerning body image and how we perceive ourselves by Sy Normore. It featured two beautifully muscular bodybuilders (Luiz Carlos Queiroz & Jed Ryan) at the beach oiling up and posing. As they progress, the very sonorous voice of Steven Thornburg lingers over them from offstage describing how the two literally remove body parts until their real selves appear – not so muscular at all. This was accomplished by the original two disappearing behind a screen and two other actors taking their place, JD (Mr. International Bear 2010) and Noriel Galiano (swimmer’s build).
Next was Long Snake Moon a rousing song executed on a throbbing piano and accompanied by equally throbbing guitar. This was a real toe tapper and the audience responded in kind. It seemed the theatre seats throbbed right along with the melody, s did those seated therein.
Cyberdate followed; one of the late Richard Lay’s award winning skits. As it’s title suggests, this involves two people, played by Rita Petite & Jonathan Calindas, who have been “dating” on line. The time has come for a face-to-face meeting. “Do you really look like Brad Pitt,” she asks. “Ah –“ he mumbles. “Do you really look like Angelina Jolie,” he asks. “Ah—“ she mumbles. The delightful and surprising ending should have been framed by a huge heart! Rita Petite and Jonathan Calindas are charming and perfect in their roles.
Mrs. Green Lectures, a skit by Carol Polcovar, and featuring the extraordinarily talented Teresa Fisher, brought the house down in a show stopper. Known for her sensational singing and warm stage presence in her shows at Don’t Tell Mama’s, she proved to be just as adept at stand up comedy. Here we had this prim and proper suburbanite lecturing about the virtues of S&M – with props to demonstrate!
Matt Swanston bared all as Jamsie in one of the six monologues from Secrets Naked Dancers Tell. Now, now, his soul is what he bared! Well, both actually. He has a type of man he desires, a very definite type – older gentlemen! He rhapsodizes about his encounter with a octogenarian – one who brought him to untold delights by removing his false teeth!
Next in Triadic Memories with Music by Morton Feldman we were treated to the terpsichory of Kelley Donovan. In a riveting dance routine with movement that were sometimes smooth and swirling and sometimes knife sharp, she at all times wowed the audience. Her choreography was cited as one of the top six performances of 2009 buy the NY Times. Totally unscheduled, she ended a movement with her face about two inches from Mr. Winston III. It was a very human and charming moment; they both smiled broadly and the dance went on.
In Carla & Max, a skit by Carol Polcovar & Dorothy August, Carrisa Cordes & Irene Antoniozzi portrayed a couple who have a major falling out about the importance of toys (or not) in their relationship. With crisp dialogue, handled beautifully by the two actresses, alas, the ending was not a happy one.
In What Is It Like To Be A Man the multi-talented Jed Ryan (he, one of the body builders in Armored Guards, but unrecognizable here) delivered a provocative and haunting portrayal of what we first perceived as a mysterious figure, veiled, jeweled and swathed head to toe in folds of black. Partly spoken and party sung the figure slowly disrobed, piece by piece until what we thought was a woman turned out to be a man and ended up as nature intended – swathed in nothing at all.
There followed a Poetry Round Robin with poems by Bill Murray, Marjorie Conn and various others. Here there was something for everyone, from the romantic to the lustful. In whatever category, the four readers, Marjorie Conn, Bill Murray, Suellen Ruben and Steven Thornburg were flawless in their delivery.
Sunday Boy returned to sing his own song, To The Streets with Rachael Bell, Christina Cataldo & Shannon O’Keefe, wearing various slinky formal black dresses, backing him up. With lyrics to make one think and harmonious music and voice and with the synchronized movement of the backup singers, this was a visual and auditory treat.
Ending the performance with a lilting and energetic dance, director Frank Calo (in arguably a stroke of genius), started by having Mr. Winston III’s trophy boys enter first and give us a beautiful and erotic pas de deux that would singe the coals in a bonfire. They were soon joined by JD and then, in ones and twos, the rest of the cast drifted in. Soon the stage was a kaleidoscope of movement and color, ending the show on a memorable high note!