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Monday, 29 March 2010 20:11

Broadway Review: ALL ABOUT ME

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Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna in All About Me
Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna in All About Me
Photo: Joan Marcus
You have to hand it to Dame Edna, Michael Feinstein and the entire team of All About Me.  They established a gimmick from the get-go and they stuck with it to the end. 

The premise of the new mutual Broadway outing for the two is that they were originally each scheduled to come to Broadway with a show entitled All About Me and It's All About Me.  After a much publicized, and most likely staged spat, the two were convinced to combine the shows after theatre owners told them they couldn't have both theatres and would need to combine their shows.

It starts when you walk into the theatre and are given a Playbill with Dame Edna on the cover and your companion for the evening is given a Playbill with Michael Feinstein on the cover.  It carries through to the inside of the book as well.  The one with Dame Edna only has Dame Edna's biography in it and vice versa.  This confused the daylights out of the elderly couple behind us. 

The overture for the show is a composite of some of the most memorable shows in Broadway history that are pieced together in snippets that flash from one to the next in the blink of an eye. This elicits laughter at each non sequatur. 

Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein in All About Me

Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein in All About Me
Photo: Joan Marcus

Feinstein starts the evening with some standards from the great American songbook including Gershwin's "Strike Up the Band," "My Romance," and "The Lady is a Tramp."  Unfortunately, while performing these with his usual charm, he is called on to move and not just play the piano.  This seems to be a bit more than Feinstein is used to.  Even his walking looks stiff.

Enter Dame Edna, the Australian housewife turned entertainment megastar.  She has a healthy self-image, mauve hair and a sharp tongue.  She and Feinstein immediately clash until separated by the "stage manager" played by Jodi Capeless.  With each laying claim to the theatre, the stage manager convinces the two of them to do a co-production.

While Dame Edna is her usual hilarious self and Michael Feinstein is charming and does have a way with American classics, the sum of the two is less than it should be.  Don't get me wrong, the show is very entertaining.  The problem is you are never free of the feeling that you are watching two different shows.  When they do come together it's just weird. 

They are accompanied by a twelve piece band under the direction of Rob Bowman.  The band is outstanding and a number of the musicians are given the opportunity to shine throughout the evening.  Ms. Capeless as the stage manager gets one of the evening's best moments when she has to cover a costume change for Feinstein and Everage.  She belts out a mean "And the World Goes Round" while continuing to call cues. 

Ms. Everage's frocks by Stephen Adnitt are inspired, including one with a replica of the Syndey Opera House on her shoulders.  The modest set by Anna Louizos, made up mostly of a bandstand is worthy of a Las Vegas nightclub but it's Howell Binkley's lighting that brings the set to life. 

The show shares a writing credit between Christopher Durang and Barry Humphries (Ms. Everage's alter-ego).  The premise falls flat but its individual pieces can be quite enjoyable.  The show was nominally directed by Casey NikolawAll About Me is enjoyable not because of the premise, but rather in spite of it.

As of this writing All About Me has posted closing notice for Sunday, April 4th.

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View full production credits at the Internet Broadway Database.
Last modified on Friday, 09 April 2010 15:22