Cabaret Review by Marcina Zaccaria
Cabaret performers Kathleen France and Dawn Derow perform in “Revolution” at The Duplex, a show that looks at war and peace since 1776.
There is something special about being in the West Village for cabaret, and in some ways, The Duplex is the perfect place to discuss war, peace, and protest. Smartly directed by Lennie Watts, a 10 time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets), 5 time Backstage Bistro, and 3 time Nightlife Award winner, “Revolution” looks at tough topics from the Civil War until the 1960s. The impulse to pick up a gun and go to war depends on so many things. The cabaret show does not so much consider race or class, but rather, what causes war, and how people react to it.
With the “Gun Song” by Stephen Sondheim toward the beginning of the show, the performers set the tone for a riveting evening. With a flag of the stars and stripes in the background on the piano on a stage that also includes drums and violin, the performers give a thought-provoking performance. Other songs in the set list included “Flagmaker,” “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution,” and “I Need to Wake Up.” Sometimes loud and bold, sometimes heartfelt and meaningful, the solos and duets had extraordinary polish. Chat between the songs was quick- witted and funny.
Whether presenting monologues about Betsy Ross sewing five point stars, or reaching high notes in her solos, Dawn Derow was graceful. Derow returned to The Duplex after making her cabaret debut there with “Shooting My Arrow.” Also at The Duplex was her “Crossing the Line,” featuring Carl Haan on piano. Her MAC Award Nominated CD of “MUSIC 4 TWO” with Sean Harkness was released in January, 2013.
Kathleen France is a bit more gutsy. Her debut cabaret show entitled “The Book Of Love” was nominated for a 2010 MAC Award (Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs). France is also an Emmy nominated narrator for “Blueprint NYC,” a television show about NYC landmarks. France wears peace beads and fringe and celebrates hippy, skippy days toward the end of the show with “Easy to Be Hard” from Hair.
Though “Revolution” does not have the gloss that would be found on an already recorded record, the show was live and vibrant. The brilliant musical direction by Andrew David Sotomayor (The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Shop of Horrors) includes an extraordinarily moving sixties sequence. The ”Protest Medley” includes “War”/”Fortunate Son”/”Shout”/”What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding”/”Think.” The rousing chorus reminds us that war is different for women than it is for men, and from war there’s a lot to learn about peace and understanding. The actresses shared that both of them had family members in the air force. At the end of the show, they took up a collection for The Wounded Warrior Project.
“Revolution” has one remaining performance tonight, Tuesday, November 11 at 6:30PM at The Duplex, 61 Christopher Street @ 7th Ave South. Call (212) 255-5438 or visit www.theduplex.com for additional information.