The Manhattan Dolls: An Evening with The Manhattan Dolls

| December 2, 2015

The Manhattan Dolls

An Evening with The Manhattan Dolls

The Duplex, NYC, November 29, 2015

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

The-Manhattan-Dolls-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212They titled their one-off An Evening with The Manhattan Dolls, even though it was Sunday afternoon. But with their shows being mostly time-machine travels to the 1930s and ’40s, a couple of hours is not worth counting. Nostalgia is what counts here. The female trio harmony sounds like the cheery chugging of “Chattanooga Choo Choo”—the opener—put the sentimental mood on track, complete with the choreographed symmetry of gestures, turns, fingers waving in the air with jive and joy. The standout as distinct vocalist and ace in capturing the perfect mix of era-soaked style and implied, smiling implied modern perspective was Grace Wall. She was luminous soloing on “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” making it feel freshly sincere. She showed versatility with spunkiness-mate Sheila Coyle putting new life in “That’s Life,” via humor and wailing. With knowhow, Annemarie Rosano was thoroughly theatrical with a Thoroughly Modern Millie moment.

A more thoughtful approach to flow and spoken comments might have better linked the items in the main agenda of representing their various theme shows. A couple of Dolls seemed wound-up or underprepared, glancing at words/music on a music stand. Maybe putting the bouncy, boffo “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” third was too early (“We usually make you wait for this one!!”) without having one full-out old school swing near the end for balance. (As for the modern-day overexposed Frozen “Let It Go”…maybe just let it go.) Often performing for veterans and seniors, these memory-kindlers with a revolving membership of ladies in period hair-dos and dresses offered a mix of many members and of their different-era theme shows. To raise funds, they auctioned off—then recorded on stage—a sung voice mail message with the high-bidder’s name incorporated. Cute perk from a perky, era-hopping, happy group.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews

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