Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Seth’s Talent Showcase, New York

Two days ago, I went to a caberet club. It was the denouement of an week-long battle between my room mate, whose colleague was performing, and I; which consisted entirely of her saying I should go and me point blank refusing. I like the relaxed set-up of caberet but the performing element, I find totally nauseating. It is enough to make me question the diversity of the genetic make-up of humans, as I have about as much inclination to get up and perform a show tune as your average sea sponge.  
Anyway, I’m not sure how it happened but I found myself at ‘Don’t tell Mama’ for ‘Seth’s Talent Showcase’. It was my first visit to the lively little piano bar, yet I was unhappy about the situation from the start; not just due to my aforesaid hatred for all things showy, but because the cover fee was $12, with a two drink minimum. 
The show opened with Seth Bisen-Hersh (of ‘Seth’s Talent Showcase) performing ‘OCD’. It was certainly entertaining, but that ilk of song that I do not enjoy; very much too upbeat. 
The evening’s ‘talent’ then performed, one by one. Each person was introduced with some cliche “bio”; “X is from Ohio/Texas/Tennessee/Memphis”, “X likes long walks”, “X likes Ben and Jerry’s”, “X likes Rom-Coms”. They then performed a song. Then a skit, which consisted of hilarities such as highlighting the price of milk in New York, the inconvenience of road-crossing, and the lack of men, with very obvious breaks for laughter. Then another song. They were a random yet unvaried bunch; the pretty identikit girls having recently moved to New York, and the two males, gay. They were talented; some more than others, and they were varying levels of embarrassing - with no obvious correlation between the two. There was a great male performer called Lenny Ciotti who was genuinely entertaining and had a great voice, although his song choice was unfortunate; very show-tune. Although, it could and should be argued that ‘Don’t tell Mama’ is not the place for someone trying to avoid show tunes.
I think what baffled me quite so much about the evening was that that kind of thing actually happens. Having lived my last 15 years in Hertfordshire, Leeds and Cambridge (England); unsurprisingly, I have not come in to contact with many people trying to break Broadway, or make it as a star this way. It is the stuff of “movies”.
Seth was was a genuinely amusing accompanist, and kept the bizarre evening together well. His closing score was also amusing with genuinely shocking references to cum swallowing and anal sex.
All in all, a fun evening; but for the experience more than genuine enjoyment of the content. This is coming from a life long caberet-hater however, so as reviews go it is pretty positive.