Rian Keating: Time Stamps: Life Fragments in Story and Song

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Rian Keating

Time Stamps: Life Fragments in Story and Song

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, January 19, 2022

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Rian Keating

A man walked into a memoir-writing class and walked out with a highly unique cabaret show. Rian Keating’s Time Stamps: Life Fragments in Story and Song is based on a series of assignments he completed for this course of study. The emphasis is in fact more on the stories than on the songs; the latter are clearly chosen to highlight and decorate the, by turn, moving and amusing tales he has to spin, ranging from a “Mrs. Robinson” moment with the Methodist reverend’s wife to a long search for appropriate New York housing to a terrifying “fag bashing.”

Those who saw Keating’s first show, In This Traveling Heart, know what a fine writer he is. The most tragic moments are leavened with humor, and the funniest points have a bit of melancholy in them. Most remarkable is his underlying compassion for all; it would be so easy to simply mock some of his encounters, such as the series of bizarre, aggressive, and avaricious potential roommates and landlords, but he finds the humanity in them.

On the musical side, a medley of “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” (Sandy Denny) and “There Is a Time” (Charles Aznavour/Gene Lewis), serves as an atmospheric launching pad for the evening. Throughout, music director Woody Reagan works wonders with creating arrangements that complement the star’s style and support his occasional uncertain vocals. One of the recurring themes of the evening is Keating’s passion for the work of Jacques Brel, which led to his first public performance in a piano bar on the West Side of Manhattan—yep, right at Don’t Tell Mama. Sadly, it was not a success. But it does allow for our host to offer a very fine “Old Folks” as well as the hysterical “Thank You Jacques Brel” (Patrick Cook). Like Keating’s writing, it both satirizes and embraces the musical eccentricities of the famed composer.

Under the subtle and steady direction of Tanya Moberly, Keating beautifully delivered his lengthy monologues without relying on a printed script and with barely a hesitation.
online pharmacy https://www.childhealthonline.org/scripts/js/nolvadex.html no prescription drugstore
Impressive in itself, the flow of images and ideas he projects touch the heart of every viewer.
online pharmacy https://www.childhealthonline.org/scripts/js/propecia.html no prescription drugstore
We share his lost-in-the-city fear and his jubilance when love comes into the story, celebrated in a medley of “This Can’t Be Love” and “If I Were a Bell.” And the poignant, perfect ending of “Time Flies” (Jimmy Webb/Ray Bradbury) sent us out hoping that this would prove to be the second segment in at the very least a trilogy.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."