2012 Loop Review #1:
Freshly pressed linen, Lanvin’s 1927 fragrance Arpege and cultured pearls come to mind…Diana Sheehan’s cabaret “Midway”, about one woman’s experience of mid-life crisis, is a delicious, scintillating, seemingly effortless stage enchantment. It’s now in performance rotation at the Stone Cottage, part of WaterTower Theatre’s Out of the Loop Festival, Sheehan exhibits fluent mastery of the cabaret style in two sets, the first ten songs, the second nine plus an encore. Her repertoire consists of finely crafted tunes by some of the America’s most celebrated composers and lyricists, not necessarily the most familiar numbers, yet all juxtaposed intriguingly to reflect the dominant themes of each set. Set One revels in re-awakening. From Rodgers and Hart to Buchino and Gershwin to Sondheim, Sheehan inhabits each song as if examining its core, resonant meaning for the first time and sharing it with her audience in heartfelt, confessional manner. Set Two expands the emotional range to include longing and hope. Sheehan smolders with vibrant desire as she evokes quirky personas and places, compromising situations and reflective sorrows: Leonard Cohen’s “Sisters of Mercy” and Duke and Nash’s “Just Like A Man” allow her to delve deep into fully realized life perspectives of the women who might sing them. She concludes with a dynamic crescendo of passionate energy, singing Jacques Brel’s “Crazy Carousel” at daringly dizzy tempo. Attired in Set One in a classic black cocktail length bias draped shift in satin and velvet that belonged to her grandmother and in Set Two in shimmering, pale peach cocktail pyjamas, Sheehan fully engages her audience, every inch a lady. Risqué but never raunchy, glamorous but never glib, grand but never grand-standing, Sheehan adds a major dose of feminine class to a diverse, entertaining Festival of performance art. With sophisticated accompaniment by James McQuillen on keyboards (also musical director), Sarah Choi on cello and Lincoln Apeland on upright bass. “Midway” continues March 8 at 7:30pm and March 10 at 2pm.
Rating: a “must see” at Out of the Loop.
As posted on content partner Theaterjones.com