Mark Nadler: The Old Razzle Dazzle: An Evening of Lies, Lying and Liars

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Mark Nadler

The Old Razzle Dazzle: An Evening of Lies, Lying and Liars

The Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYC, May 9, 2019

Reviewed by Alix Cohen for Cabaret Scenes

Mark Nadler
Photo: Jeff Harnar

Employing the dark, desperate humor of Weimar Kabaret (and some of its songs), audacious showman Mark Nadler here confronts a zeitgeist of which we’re ashamedly aware, an era when truth is elusive, abused, and discarded. Not since his stunning I’m a Stranger Here Myself have we seen such compelling anger on a cabaret stage.

“Want to buy some illusion/Slightly used, second hand?

buy abilify online no prescription pharmacy
online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA
online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

/They were lovely illusions/Reaching high, built on sand” Nadler sings licentiously. (“Illusions”; Friedrich Hollander) “It’s just a standard form, tomorrow without fail/Pleased to meet you, thanks a lot, your check is in the mail” he declaims.

online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

(“Blizzard of Lies”; Dave Frishberg/Samantha Frishberg). Acclimation is a watchword and a warning.

Seven, count ’em, seven children’s songs—including Leigh Harline/Ned Washington’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” and J. Fred Coots/Haven Gillespie’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”—follow. Despite mostly genial renditions, the innocent lyrics are undermined by raised eyebrows and disdained context. “I’m sure nobody in this room has ever told a lie to a child,” Nadler quips.

Excerpts from newspaper articles read aloud blame our disgraceful moral state successively on rock ‘n’ roll and ragtime.

online pharmacy with best prices today in the USA

Poems attributed to Dorothy Parker (not) pepper the piece with sarcasm. “Just in case there’s anyone uncomfortable with homosexuality in song—I’m not gay. In fact, I’m not Jewish,” the performer declares (not).

Francesca Blumenthal’s “Lies of Handsome Men” reminds us how well Nadler can perform without fireworks. The number is beautifully timorous, credible, and impeccably phrased. Also in this vein are a tandem “Guess Who I Saw Today” (Murray Grand/Elisse Boyd) and “Lie to Me” (Alan Menken). A seamless transition between these is accomplished by a flat-palm stop signal.

buy nolvadex online no prescription pharmacy

“You wonder if there’s any circumstance when you know somebody’s telling the truth. Yes, there is, when someone is under oath.” It’s a testament to our times that the entire room laughs in nervous recognition. The entertainer’s perfect musical choice “Little Tin Box” (Jerry Bock/ Sheldon Harnick) is enacted with full-frontal ham.

“Truth is hard and tough as nails/That’s why we need fairytales”—“Münchhausen Song (Liar Liar)”; Friedrich Hollander. The 1931 lyric is as resonant today as when written.

buy orlistat online no prescription pharmacy

On its tail, Nadler entreats “If music is no longer lovely/If laughter is no longer lilting/If lovers are no longer loving/Then I don’t want to know”—first in speech, then as an infectious waltz, and finally, frenzy. (“I Don’t’ Want to Know”; Jerry Herman).

buy clomid online no prescription pharmacy

John Kander/Fred Ebb’s “Razzle Dazzle” sums up with brio.

Nadler’s encore, an inspired, tap-danced recitation of politicians’ lies, is successfully disturbing. (The imaginative choreography is by Germaine Salsberg.)

Caveats: A crisply enunciated “Ya Got Trouble” by Meredith Willson is diminished by a loud, dissonant piano that I found in opposition to the light con of the song. Buck Ram’s classic “The Great Pretender” begins affectingly quiet and soulful, creating a new take on its drama, but ramps up teetering on madness, losing the initial fresh effect. There must be a middle ground.

Mark Nadler’s well-written show is provocative, smart, and brave.

Mark’s Razzle Dazzle returns to the Beechman Saturday, June 8 at 7 pm.

Alix Cohen

Alix Cohen’s writing began with poetry, segued into lyrics then took a commercial detour. She now authors pieces about culture/the arts, including reviews and features. A diehard proponent of cabaret, she’s also a theater aficionado, a voting member of Drama Desk, The Drama League and of The NY Press Club in addition to MAC. Currently, Alix writes for Cabaret Scenes, Theater Pizzazz and Woman Around Town. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine and Times Square Chronicles. Alix is the recipient of six New York Press Club Awards.