Ruth Fuerst: You’ve Got to Be Kidding! (A Cabaret Act of Resistance)

| December 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Ruth Fuerst

You’ve Got to Be Kidding!
(A Cabaret Act of Resistance)

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, November 15, 2017

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Ruth Fuerst

Presenting a cabaret show with a strong political statement (in this case a progressive stance) as its central agenda can be a slippery slope. If such a show is not simultaneously and at its core entertaining, an audience may end up squirming from too much preaching. For the most part Ruth Fuerst succeeds at this delicate balance in You’ve Got to Be Kidding (A Cabaret Act of Resistance)—often choosing comedy to accomplish the dual purposes of entertainment and enlightenment.

The show had a goodly share of parodies, including Fuerst’s funny yet, provocative litany of ailments and diseases the treatment for which the proposed new health care regime will ultimately disappoint. Her parody to “High Hopes” made us all recall Election Night 2016 with wistful dismay. Jabs at the current administration included “It’s De Vossy” by Bald Piano Guy, and “Alternative Facts” (music by Michele Brourman; lyrics by Carla Gordon). Randy Rainbow’s “The Russian Connection” was a hoot. The reflective “Dear Kitty” from Enid Futterman’s I Am Anne Frank might have been introduced in a way that gave it better context in the show. Woody Guthrie’s very dark “Deportees” and “The Colors of the Wind” (lyrics by Stephen Schwartz; music by Alan Menken) made the case for honoring people with differing skin color and differing opportunities.

Mark Burnell provided supportive musical direction and flexed his comedy chops in Randy Newman’s “Political Science” (“Let’s Drop the Big One”). Fuerst didn’t quite capture the droll wit of Susan Werner’s “My Strange Nation”; Werner’s jokes (like moving to France) may not always be intended literally.

Clearly, Ruth Fuerst is making grand strides as a cabaret artist. She is bringing a smoother, more pleasing vocal sound, and her poise grows with each show. We appreciated that You’ve Got to Be Kidding closed on an optimistic note with Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse’s “Gonna Build a Mountain,” followed by Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” on which the audience chimed in with enthusiasm.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Chicago, Chicago Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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