Before I saw All About Me, the new revue pairing Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna, I stopped in to one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall pseudo-Japanese restaurants for a California roll and katsu-don. After the show, I had a slice of cheesecake from Juniors. And it occured to me that a California roll cheesecake was the sort of experience the show offered.
Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna are two gifted performers who do what they do very well. However, there is no earthly reason for them to be appearing together, and sadly they come off as less than the sum of their parts. The pixalated charm of Feinstein is an uneasy blend with the aggressive iconoclasm of Dame Edna. The concept, that each performer has contracted the theater for a solo show called All About Me, is as annoying as it is far-fetched. Neither performer has enough time to really get a toe-hold on the evening to establish any performance momentum (although Feinstein, at least when he gets to finish a song, seems to get more traction.)
The set for the show is obviously going for a 60’s variety show feel, but only succeeds in looking cheap. A stage manager character and chorus boys while featuring charming performers feel totally unnecesary. And interestingly, several songs listed in the program do not appear on-stage.
One of the show’s saving graces is the terrific band led by Rob Bowman. People who remember Bowen from his terrific work in DC in the ’80’s** will be happy to know that he looks terrific and still has that terrific mane of blond hair.
*OK, dear readers, I have to admit a little fib. I thought of the analogy during the show. But in the interest of journalistic integrity, I went to Juniors and got a slice of cheescake on my way back.
**My favorite memory is of Bowman in a red flannel nightshirt and cap during “Robin Baxter’s Chainsaw Christmas” in the old Wooley Mammoth space.
***I really wanted to title this post “Does Tomato Sauce Really Go Great With Chow Mien,” but felt that was one food reference too many.