BWW Review: In THE BRASS MENAGERIE At The Duplex, Talented And Gifted Child Amy Jo Jackson Takes On Williams Women With A Welish … uh… Relish!
Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T...
And in this case, the T stands for Tennessee... Williams that is. Yes my lambs, someone has gone and made a Musical Comedy Cabaret built around a faux lecture educating us all about the women of Tennessee Williams. At The Duplex last night, Amy Jo Jackson - a fierce actor/singer/cabaret artiste and a recipient of the 2019 Denovan Fellowship in Cabaret - performed her hilarious, full-throated march through our most fabulously tragic heroines. With a line up that consisted of Maggie The Cat, Alexandra Del Lago, Serafina Delle Rose, Catherine Holly, Blanche DuBois, Alma Winemiller and of course, Amanda (& Laura) Wingfield, one thing was made crystal clear - the talented Jackson is a big GAY man in a womanly body. She's tall, she's beautiful, she can sing and act while being hilariously funny and she looks incredible as a redhead. No for real... Amy Jo, who must be described as a beautiful glitter alien, and who is usually sporting a mod bob of various shades of blonde, blue, or green donned one of the BEST red wigs this reviewer has ever seen on the stage. But I digress... because... wigs.
Bringing her show back to the Dulex stage by popular demand, Jackson took her audience on a campy, and at times touching, flip pad romp through these most famous women of Williams...with SONGS! Using established musical theatre opuses matched to each character and scene (to all of which she has wickedly applied her own lyrics) and with brilliant support by Duplex staple, the A-Door-Bell Brian Nash, AJJ kept her students in stitches the whole way through - and then came Alma. In a surprising and welcome turn at just the right moment in her show, Jackson chose to play it for real and not for laughs with the delicate piano teacher, Miss Winemiller from TW's delicate Summer And Smoke. After so much hilarity, giving her audience a moment to catch their breath and show, that though comedy is her intention, her deft acting chops can also bring a tear to the eye, and give even more meaning to this magic night of T-H-E-A-T-R-E. Underscoring Alma's pained scene of confession to the Doctor she has always loved with a slow and ardent arrangement of Adele's SOMEONE LIKE YOU Amy Jo was not the only person at The Duplex to wipe away tears at the end of this chapter. But then it was tears of laughter all over again as she launched into her full 3 act walk through the Wingfield apartment. Taking on all 3 of the family members in a heightened and schizophrenic Three Faces Of Eve kind of a way, Amy Jo pulled out any stops that she had left and brought the house down so much, she coulda encored the entire performance and her 9:30 PM audience would have stayed into the night.
Play by play, musical theatre parody by musical theatre parody, and yet without giving us whiplash, the excess within control of Amy Jo Jackson's comedy and really moving moments of piercing, heartfelt clarity only played because, after the Herculean (what?! Bobby knows words!) task of writing the show and the lyrics, she has also done all the acting work to make every one of the women she portrays layered and fully realized. And since Jackson makes some of her living as a theatrical dialect coach, you can bet all the accent work from southern drawls to movie star elocution to Italian mama mia-ism is en pointe. Amy Jo Jackson has had solo concerts at Feinstein's/54 Below, The Green Room 42 and Boston's Club Cafe, and has performed on stages all over NYC, most notably Joe's Pub, the Slipper Room, the Knitting Factory, the Bell House, Union Hall, and the Laurie Beechman and we can only hope that after her performance tonight sells out (Get Tickets at the link below if you can) that any one OR ALL of these venues will put her down on their stages because this show should be seen... and for that, we give Amy Jo Jackson and THE BRASS MENAGERIE a full 5 out of 5 Rainbows.
Tickets For Tonight's 9:30 Show At The Duplex Can Be Bought: HERE
Brain Nash (CUTIE) has his webby: HERE
And All Things Duplex Are: HERE
*All Photos By Yours Truly, Bobby Patrick