Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano: This Thing Called Love

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Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

This Thing Called Love

The Cabaret at Germano’s, Baltimore, MD, February 14, 2018

Reviewed by Michael Miyazaki for Cabaret Scenes

Barbara Fasano & Eric Comstock

Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, America’s First Couple of Cabaret, hosted a Valentine’s Day celebration at Germano’s. Their show was all about love (what else?) in multiple guises, following a roadmap careening through courtship (a charming “Haven’t We Met”), obsession (an intense “Tonight”), joy (“a stunning medley of “Lucky to Be Me” and “It’s Love”), humor (“Forbidden Fruit”), and everyday joy (“New Sun in the Sky” with “A Shine on Your Shoes”).

The two display a bond that magnifies the impact of their work. For example, in their duet on the the Marvin Hamlisch /Craig Carnelia “I Cannot Hear the City,” not only do they hit stunning harmonies, but their relationship also magnifies the impact of a lyric like, “I’ll keep you safe, and also set you free.”  The hum of satisfaction that ends the song nearly says as much as the entire preceding lyric. It also allows them to be stylistically consistent while being stylistically fluid, whether it is a restrained formalism in their “Blue Skies” or the jazzy sass of a medley of “Love Like Ours” and “Old Friends.”

Each had individual successes in the show. Comstock presented a world weary yet hopeful reading of “Small World” and tickled our fancy with two Oscar Brown, Jr. blues numbers. Fasano presented a master class in how to make a song a three-act play in “Remind Me,” veering from temptation to love to heartbreak to wisdom in the course of three minutes.  Her “Thunder Road” is a masterpiece, particularly well set-up with a reminiscence of growing up on Long Island.

Comstock provides solid support on the piano for the couple. He clearly understands their needs as performers and provides them in the accompaniment and clearly sets the stage for their stylistic jaunts. A favorite moment in the show was the use of “The Little Things You Do Together” as the accompaniment counterpoint to “Love Is in the Air,” giving the song much more weight and edge than it usually has.  

One of the delights of a Comstock & Fasano show is their unexpected approach to programming within a theme. They deserve plaudits for being willing not to include the dreaded “My Funny Valentine” in a Valentine’s show and, instead, finding the charming Annie Dinerman song “Valentine” to celebrate the holiday!

Michael Miyazaki

Michael Miyazaki is a Washington DC/Baltimore area-based performer, director, and writer. He has performed at various venues in the DC area, and his most recent show is Thanks for the Memories: The Musical Legacy of Bob Hope. He has appeared with numerous local theater troupes including Scena Theatre, the Source Theatre, and Fraudulent Productions. He has attended the Perry-Mansfield Cabaret Workshop (working with master teachers Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Mason, Barry Kleinbort, Christopher Denny, Shelly Markham, and David Gaines), and has also studied under Sally Mayes, Tex Arnold, Lina Koutrakos, Rick Jensen, Amanda McBroom, and Alex Rybeck. He is the creator of the blog The Miyazaki Cabaret Update: DC & Beyond (currently on hiatus) and is a member of the DC Cabaret Network and the Arts Club of Washington.