BWW Review: Suzy London Presents a Playful TATTOOS ON MY HEART
Actress Suzy London is a dynamite performer onstage. She really digs in deep to become the character she is playing. Her cabaret appearance - her second over the past year - on Sunday January 19 at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal proved that she can conquer the cabaret scene with equal finesse. It takes a performer of versatility to grab hold of an audience and keep them riveted to you... as yourself. Here in cabaret, you are exposing a side of yourself that is covered over in a specific character role.
Tattoos On My Heart is the name of the new show, and it proved terribly funny, as London worked in Vegas doing country demos without every having been a real country singer. The 70-minute set had London donning a number of cowboy hats and moving about the stage as if she owned it, knowing exactly where she was going for each song and what she was about to do,,,all quite naturally and playfully I might add.
Directed sublimely by Michelle Bernath and backed by the superb musician Robert Brandzel and his Quartet, London had a great time singing in a totally different style, and she successfully took the packed audience on a deliciously unpredictable ride. And what chemistry she has with Brandzel! They are in constant harmonious tune from start to finish.
For one reason or another, the show's intent went over many of the audience members' heads, but it certainly wasn't London's fault or that of Bernath, who kept her moving nonstop back and forth across the stage or up and down a ladder. London's most successful songs involved her natural seductive attitude, like on "If I Can't Sell It" and a wonderful medley of lonesome tunes like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" Another dynamic number was "My Man Is Such a Handy Man", a tad risque, but oh so much fun to watch. Nothing forced or over.the.top in these moments either. She poured it out like she had been in the love profession all her life.
Other highlights included: Van Morrison's "Moondance", "Crazy", the Patsy Cline mega hit, "Tennessee Waltz", "Release Me" and "Cry Me a River". There was also the upbeat "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" and then the tantalizing ballad "Desperado", both showing the flexibility of her vocal range. And London is not afraid to go all the way. She focuses first on the lyrics of a song and lets them carry her to her destination. For me, the mark of a truly great actress!
When I interviewed London, I asked if she would like to take this show on the road...and what about cruise ships? It's a perfect show for a laid back trip as it is high on entertainment. With London's warmth, accessibility and relentless flair for the unknown, this idea is a fit. Don't miss her wherever and whenever she performs!