Monday, March 8, 2010

Review - Uncut 4 (Melissa E. Driscol and Stonewall Inn)

By Byrne Harrison

Melissa Driscol is back (not that she left) with her latest Uncut cabaret show at the Stonewall Inn. Uncut 4 - The Birthday Edition is, as the name implies, also an excuse for a big birthday party for Driscol.

Like her earlier 20 Years of Dating... much of Uncut 4 deals with Driscol's past relationships. In fact, her bevy of chorus boys each play one of her exes (with the exception of the terrific Matt Shofner who plays her gay best friend, Jeremy. Keep an eye out for Shofner, if this show is any indication he's a triple threat). As she takes the audience through her sexy, sordid past, she provides plenty of off-color humor at her own expense. Some of her stories will make you cringe in sympathy, and make you glad you're not doing a tell-all cabaret show of your own.

As in her previous shows, Driscol plays with some familiar pop songs by the Beatles, Christina Aguilera, and Kate Perry to name a few. She really shines, however, when she performs songs that she has written or arranged with her musical director and pianist Robby Stamper. Stamper and Driscol make a great team, bringing out the best in the other. This is certainly evident in two songs from this show, "Good Time Girl" and "Celebrate the Penis" (which also was a nice counterpoint to the earlier "Vagina" by Amanda Green). Other highlights of Uncut 4 included a spirited interpretation by Ariel Sinclair of Storm Large's "8 Miles Wide," and Driscol's take on Dickie Thompson's "13 Men and Me"

Although the boys are mostly there to help Driscol shine and provide some laughs, they do a particularly good job during a sex toy-enhanced dance number set to Mika's "Lollipop." Both this number and a very sexy "Fever" show off Jamie DelGosso's choreography very well.

The show is not without its faults, but it tends to embrace them. Prop and mic malfunctions, awkward entrances and exits (this is a bar, not a theatre, after all), and other mishaps are taken in stride. The show could use a little tightening up, the dialogue tends to drag at times, but overall Maria Gentile's direction is fine. Driscol herself says that the real purpose of the show is to make sure everyone has a good time. If the audience at Thursday's sold out performance is any indication, she has succeeded.

Uncut 4 - The Birthday Edition
Written by Melissa E. Driscol
Directed by Maria Gentile
Musical Direction by Robby Stamper
Choreography by Jamie DelGosso
Costume Design by Michael Plosky
Lights and Sound by Tony DeCicco
Featuring DJ Charles Rockhill

Featuring: Melissa E. Driscol, Brandon Cutrell (God), Chocolatina (as herself), Ariel Sinclair (Mom), Matthew Dean Fletcher (Ben), Charles Rockhill (Rob), Lawrence Baca (Jeff), Joshua Brooks (Alex), Matt Shofner (Jeremy), T.J. Fix (Mark)

Stonewall Inn
53 Christopher Street

To give you an idea of what to expect, here is the very NSFW video of Storm Large's "8 Miles Wide." While this isn't what we saw at Uncut 4, it does give a sense of the raunchy delights in Driscol's Uncut cabarets.

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