BWW Reviews: Terry Fator: Still So Talented But.....
There can be no doubt that Terry Fator first winner of America's Got Talent has indeed "got talent" in abundance. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, his talent ranks an 11. But, though he is talented and eminently pleasant, his show, Ventriloquism in Concert, in the Terry Fator Theater at the Mirage Hotel and Casino would maybe earn a 7.
The concept seems simple but there is probably no one but Fator who could carry it off. His cast of characters is a memorable one and, as noted once before, in lesser hands they would be mere "dummies." But, with Fator in control, they seem to live, to be real.
There's Winston the Turtle, Duggie the Annoying Neighbor, Walter T. Airdale, the country singer, Wrex the crash-test dummy and Emma. The latter sings Etta James' At Last as well as Etta ever did. Vicki, who used to be a brazen cougar, on an endless manhunt, has calmed down. This is all good. What isn't good is Fator's newest puppet, introduced to mark Fator's second anniversary in Las Vegas, and it is unclear why someone as gifted as Fator would even think he needs such a character.
Berry Fabulous (in the photo above with Fator) is flamboyant, blonde and dazzling in satin and spangles. He is introduced when an big dark wood armoire is wheeled out onto the stage. In case anyone in the audience is dumb enough to miss the point, the word "CLOSET" in big block letters on a white paper is taped above the closet doors. Fator talks about how "Berry" is finally "coming out of the closet."
Jeez!!! As subtle as a sledgehammer and as offensive as is humanly possible, the character contributes nothing to the show but to make the audience wonder how someone like Fator can possibly think this funny or appropriate. He got rid of material from his opening season - the Michael Jackson sketch and the crack about Obama - that was offensive abut has added this character. Why?
Fator pleases the audience with a tribute to veterans and a new song, Horses In Heaven. To great applause he announces that all profits from any merchandise will go to support veterans causes.
The production values are first-class. Fator's band is great and DJ Ben Harris is a crowd favorite. All of this is terrific. But why, oh why, that new puppet? Just is not funny.
Terry Fator appears at the Mirage Tuesday through Saturday, 7:30 pm. Tickets are $59, $79, $99, $129. To purchase tickets, go to www.mirage.com or call 702-792-7777 or 1-800-963-9634, 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (PST) daily.