Barbara’s Blue Kitchen
Nashville, August 30, 2014
Reviewed by Jaz Dorsey for Cabaret Scenes
BARBARA’S BLUE KITCHEN is a two person one woman show – kind of a solo Steel Magnolias a la Lily Tomlin – small town Southern diner cabaret in which the multi talented Lori Fischer takes us through a day in the life of a country eatery, portraying seven engaging characters with the help of her musical sidekick, Casey Black – aka radio DJ Dickie Hull at WATR radio, where “all of the songs are original and all of the listeners ‘one of a kind.’ ‘
I think I was expecting something silly, maybe a touch tongue-in-cheek (and there is a bit of that), but, in fact, the piece is actually rather sentimental and I found myself tearing up more than once – but also laughing at the jokes, such as the Tupperware “remark-a-bowl” and the local dance/sale event, the “cut a rug” carpet sale – little bumps of humor worthy of Jeff Foxworthy and the red neck comedy artists.
Fisher herself is “remark-a-bowl.” Not only did she write the wonderful script, but she brings considerable acting chops to her portrayal of the array of characters. There’s Barbara Jean herself, of course, but also her waitress Jeanette, her sister, Melissa, and Melissa’s son, Tommy Lee – and two customers; Miss Tessie, an old lady from the local nursing home who will steal your heart, and Miss Morris, a nurse from the local hospital who is our voice of wisdom. And last but not least, there’s Lombardo, the towns Italian haridresser/Lothario, who almost steals the show when he comes a-courtn’ Barbara Jean with one of the best and funniest songs of the show.
Casey Black is a charming fellow with a sweet guitar style that is exactly what we want here and both he and Fisher have fine country voices. Black’s character fills his play time with original songs – HIS original songs, one of which he almost pitched to Reba and another one that he once sang with Dolly Parton’s cousin, so there’s a nice touch of satire of the Nashville songwriting scene. (The story is set in Watertown, Tennessee, so very much in the cultural territory of Music City.)
I should point out here that Fisher is an award winning playwright whose other plays – THE SPARKLEY CLEAN FUNERAL PLAYERS and IS THIS HEAVEN, EVAN – sound like a couple of shows we’d enjoy seeing here on the Nashville Scene.
Produced by Ken Bernstein, with simple lighting by Lawrence Boothby, this is a show with DOYLE & DEBBIE potential, a show that we can take our out of town friends to, both to entertain them with something really special and just because we’re happy to have an excuse to go back ourselves. Keep your eye on www.bongoafterhourstheatre.com
for fall performances.
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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Nashville, Nashville Cabaret Reviews