Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano
Helluva Town: A New York Soundtrack
The Cabaret at Germano’s, Baltimore, MD, October 8, 2016
Reviewed by Michael Miyazaki for Cabaret Scenes
The traveling Chamber of Commerce of Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano traveled to Baltimore to perform Helluva Town, their tribute to New York City. In it, they presented a wry, witty look at a city they describe as a “mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a knish.”
The show opens with a vision of New York and the many ways it appeals to people dreaming about the city in a medley of “Comes Once in a Lifetime” and “Lucky to Be Me.” Along the way we discover the excitement of the city (such as Comstock’s heartfelt “My Time of Day”), dealing with relationships both fleeting (“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”) and lasting (“Old Friends”), and idiosyncratic subcultures within New York (an engaging medley of “A Latin from Manhattan” and “You Discover You’re in New York”). The show even salutes people who decide they need to leave New York for good (in Fasano’s haunting rendition of the Joni Mitchell song “Marcie”) or just for a jaunt to the Hamptons—in Jim Lowe’s witty song that describes the resort as being “where the literati glitter and the glitterati litter.”
The team presented a show as polished as their ensembles (plunging black satin for her; dark pinstripe and salmon tie for him). Comstock and Fasano demonstrated supreme command of their lyrics both in terms of depth of interpretation and accuracy of execution. Both are technically proficient vocalists who understand the most effective ways to deploy their instruments. Their banter is reminiscent of Steve and Eydie (if they had graduate degrees). Musically, the team is reminiscent of Julie Wilson and William Roy in their heyday, with Fasano’s sexy intelligence playing against Comstock’s impishness and heart, all set to Comstock’s spare, jazz-infused arrangements.