BWW Review: Claire Adams Debuts Her Solo Cabaret
I want to be spot.on clear from the onset that actress/singer Claire Adams is an enormous talent. She is pretty in a distinct way...not drop.dead gorgeous, but possessing beauty and warmth that start deep within. Her divine musical instrument and great vocal range are undeniable.
On Sunday November 25, Adams presented her one hour long debut cabaret at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal to a crowded house, considering this was a holiday weekend. A finalist in LA's Next Great Stage Star 2015, Adams has since moved on to dazzle LA audiences in Assassins, Violet, among other shows and is currently essaying She Loves Me at Actors Co-op. A graduate of USC, she is adept at playing edgy characters and has most definitely chosen the right profession as a musical comedy actress.
That said, let's talk about performing in cabaret, which is completely different from the stage. For her very first show, Adams did a credible job of showing her love of the arts and talking about experimenting with boyfriends...she has had two so far, dating broken off in both cases. Like a self described giddy kid, she told anecdotes about those relationships and finding her true self within the world of musical theatre ... like a wise old lady might do who has had a long career to look back on. That older performer displays wisdom in summing up her life. Adams is only in her twenties and hopefully has much more to experience. In a show of this nature it is better for a woman of her youth to mention the relationships, and if she sincerely feels that the younger audience members may learn from her mistakes, so be it, but...her patter did become tedious and she never left centerstage.
You must engage your audience as a performer, maybe enter from the back of the room or go out into the crowd and deliver songs and little stories to certain select people that you know. Her family and friends were there in abundance. I blame her director Richard Israel, an extraordinary theatre director, for not guiding her more and giving her more to do to keep the evening as riveting as possible. She, like many young performers I have seen, will improve with time. She has the talent and charisma; she just needs to learn to be herself and control her audience in a sophisticated yet lighthearted manner. It's not an easy task to be at this level. It takes much growth and development.
Adams' voice was in excellent form and with skilled musical director Anthony Lucca at the piano, she did particularly wonderful work with Kander and Ebb's "A Quiet Place", Jerry Herman's beautiful "Time Heals Everything" that shows so poignantly the bittersweet nature of love affairs, and Shawn Mendes' "Moving Too Fast" featuring a fab piano solo from Lucca. Tyler Ellis dueted with Adams on "I Love the Way". There was delicious chemistry between the two, which produced some lovely comedic moments. Adams also soared with "Lay Down Your Head" from Violet and with the lesser known "Before It's Over", that was her final number. There was no encore and I don't remember hearing her acknowledge Michael Sterling or others behind the scenes for their support. Nerves perhaps caused her to forget deserved thank yous.
Mark my words, Claire Adams should be around for a long time in musical theatre. I hope she continues to persevere and grow on the cabaret scene. Her versatility will take her far. Watch for her!