Savi: Under the Covers with Savi: Songs from a Hopeful Romantic

| September 21, 2017


Under the Covers with Savi: Songs from a Hopeful Romantic

Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA, September 13, 2017

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes


Listening to Savi Labensart sing is pure pleasure. In her first solo cabaret show, she is by turns adorable, sultry, poised, engaging, and always believable as she casts a musical spell over an audience and communicates the truth in each lyric.

Calling herself “a hopeful romantic,” she worked her way through a series of eclectic songs that reflected a range of emotions. Although she never spoke directly about what she’s looking for, her opener—an instrumental version of “Someday My Prince Will Come” (Larry Morey/Frank Churchill)—pretty much gave it away before she entered the room.

The evening included: a dreamy, silky “This Nearly Was Mine” (Rodgers & Hammerstein); a soaring, clarion-like “Bouquet of Blues” (Arthur Hamilton) that showed off her lovely tonal quality; a sultry, haunting, slightly operatic take on “Don’t Smoke in Bed” (Willard Robison); and a soft, relaxed version of “Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast” (Jerome J. Leshay/Bobby Troup), in which she managed to maintain a demure persona despite the suggestive lyrics.

On the lighter side she was delightfully adorable on the charming “You Gotta S-M-I-L-E” (Mack Gordon/Harry Revel) and on a finger-snapping “Comes Love” (Lew Brown/Sammy H. Stept/Charles Tobias), and she was simple and sincere on Janis Ian’s “Photographs.”

Later, donning a pair of devil horns, Savi performed “I Want to Be Evil” (Lester Judson/Raymond Taylor) with wide-eyed innocence that belied the lyrics. She took a similarly innocent approach—while sticking pins into a prop voodoo doll—on Harry Nilsson’s “Without Her (Him).”

While she excelled at communicating with the audience through the songs’ lyrics, she made her feelings more tactile as she roamed through the room looking for hugs—and getting them—on “Squeeze Me” (Fats Waller/Clarence Williams).

Although the show’s title and theme were noted in a handout placed on each table, the evening would have benefited from more connective patter to make the song choices more pertinent.

Savi was backed by a hot trio that included Max Haymer on piano, Giovanna Clayton on cello—an instrument that added a moody quality to several songs, and Jack Daro on bass. The act, which was conceived by Brad Benedict, is scheduled to run once a month through the end of the year.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Los Angeles Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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