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BWW Review: Bonnie Milligan and Natalie Walker Are Crazy Good in BONNIE MILLIGAN AND NATALIE WALKER CELEBRATE FIFTY YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP at Feinstein's/54 Below

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The first night of a two-night show

BWW Review: Bonnie Milligan and Natalie Walker Are Crazy Good in BONNIE MILLIGAN AND NATALIE WALKER CELEBRATE FIFTY YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP at Feinstein's/54 Below

Bonnie Milligan and Natalie Walker have been performing together for 50 years...no, really! That's what their moderator, Chris Murphy, read off a piece of paper at the start of "Bonnie Milligan and Natalie Walker Celebrate Fifty Years of Friendship" on Sept. 25 at Feinstein's/54 Below. Granted, the two friends dodged every question about their age, and the hologram they brought out to showcase some of their top performances seemed suspiciously life-like, but that's just how good technology is, right?

Well, that is, at least, the story Milligan and Walker crafted on Saturday night. It's their story, and they stuck to it with a freakish commitment. When Vanity Fair staff writer Chris Murphy introduced himself as the evening's moderator and an "expert in deranged women," I must confess I thought it a little rude. And I wouldn't go so far as to call the women themselves deranged, but their show has a delightfully unhinged quality to it that blew me away. On stage, Milligan and Walker let loose and managed to somehow make absolute fools of themselves in the most endearing way possible. They are so talented, too, that instead of wincing at their antics or feeling sorry for them, I left feeling sorry for myself because I'll simply never achieve that miraculous blend of dynamic presence, self-assuredness, and sheer talent that these two women have down to a science.

The setlist absolutely kept the audience on our toes the whole night, leaving us in an actually-very-enjoyable state of constantly wondering, "Oh god, what are they going to get up to next? I can't wait." Each song made me wish I could live in that moment forever, and then the next one started and was just as good, and I wished I could stay in that moment forever, too, thank you.

Both Milligan and Walker have exceptional voices; I'm not original in claiming that the two of them can belt the house down. When they get going - and they did, many times throughout the night - I got chills and I could have listened for eons.

The two friends alternated solos that showcased their individual styles with duets, with a handful of surprise guests who blew the roof off the club. The solos performed by Milligan and Walker were carefully chosen, it seemed, to really let each woman shine in her own way: Walker's solos were a little bit batshit and off-the-wall, hilarious numbers, while Milligan's were often slower, more thoughtful and, in some ways, sad. What they both had in common was their ability to wow the audience with their impressive vocal abilities. The two performers complement each other perfectly, not just in their different personalities but in their voices as well.

I found myself wishing, as I soaked in the show, that I could record every moment and blast it on repeat, anytime I felt a little sad or blue - Milligan and Walker exude an infectious joy that is impossible to resist. They both have big voices and big personalities and the obvious fun they take in collaborating with each other, with their moderator, and with their surprise guests ratcheted my enjoyment of the night up several notches. There's something beautiful about performers having a total blast up on stage that makes the audience's own experience so much more beautiful. Sure, it's a little...deranged, fine, but it's also just what the world needs these days. Some good, unadulterated off-their-rockers fun.

You still have a chance to witness these young-appearing-but-totally-very-old women work their magic at Feinstein's / 54 Below on Oct. 11, 2021. Tickets are available here.


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