The tall warbler, who performs under a Louise Brooks bob and with the immeasurable aid of director Lina Koutrakos, has a helluva good time waxing and waning about her love history and prospects. Plus which she’s ably backed by pianist-musical director Tracy Stark of the rockin’ arrangements, guitarist Jamie Fox (the night I was there), bassist Skip Ward, drummer Dave Silliman, and singers Wendy Anne Russell and Joshua Judge. She consistently amuses herself—and therefore the audience—with various comedic tropes. Particularly funny is the chart on eligible men she hauls out to accompany the advice she gives on Sippy Wallace’s “Women Be Wise” with its repeated dictum, “Don’t advertise your man.” Another thing about her: Although none of the selections was written for her, she has the knack of making many of them sound like extremely well-tailored special material. Lastly, France has the savvy to sing Rusty Magee’s “New York Romance,” one of the most realistic songs ever written about the Big Apple and its sometimes bruised skin. She gets every nuance the late tunesmith built into it.
Written By David Finkle
October 25, 2009
In the boxing ring of cabaret, Kathleen France is a knockout with a great one-two punch (punchy comedy and powerhouse singing). Pow! To extend the familiar ring of the metaphor, letʼs simply say she knocked my socks off. The surprise is: itʼs her debut show. But sheʼs already a pro. In her corner, she has savvy director Lina Koutrakos to “show her the ropes” and terrific harmonizing back-up singers plus Tracy Stark to add spark and matchless support as Musical Director. Bubbly Kathleen is an exclamation point of delightful, infectious joy, exhibiting loopy self-deprecating humor about her lack of luck swimming upstream in the dating pool. Thereʼs a method to her madness, as revealed by her deft examination of all facets of Rusty Mageeʼs “New York Romance”— pathos, reality check, affectionate humor. She can wail and rock out when “Crying” with a big, big voice and bigger heart. “Ainʼt No Sunshine” is a highlight, but the opposite of this report: sheʼs a sunny, funny, cute-as-a-bunny personality who lights up the room. This is someone who knows how to play to—and connect with—an audience, with her twinkling eyes looking right at theirs. She has great timing and provides a great time.
October 18, 2009