ALL ABOUT ME

  • Our critic's rating:
    Date:
    March 1, 2010
    Review by:
    Tulis McCall

    Review by Tulis McCall

    There is such a thing as making something too clever by half, and that is pretty much what has been done here.

    First of all this is a grand experiment. Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein are both talents who stand on their own quite nicely. Someone got the idea to see what they might cook up as a duo – and that’s great. Then someone got the idea that the duo needed help, that they, on their own, were not enough. That was not so great.

    All about me is based on the idea that Everege and Feinstein’s two dueling egos would fight over the spotlight if given the chance. This appears to be far from the truth. They are also called upon to pretend not to know one another until the moment of meeting on the stage and to fight over the two sets of programs that were handed out – one His and one Hers.

    In fact, the show really begins when a truce is called and the Feinstein and Dame Edna settle in to share the stage by agreeing on the things they have in common: "The Great American Songbook", "Songs about Koalas", "Dramatic Songs", and "Medleys". Jodi Capeless, as B.J the stage manager (Why do I have trouble with that name” asks Everage), negotiates this truce and then takes a fabulous turn of her own in the spotlight with And The World Goes Round (while calling her own light cues).

    Everage uses Feinstein’s solos as costume change moments and he has the smarts not to do the same. It is in the second half of the show that Feinstein gives us a shattering interpretation of What Did I Have That I Don’t Have? from On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. Dame Edna gives us The Dingo Ate My Baby and then returns with a version of Ladies Who Lunch (an exception to her suggestion that this performance be a Sondheim-free zone “I think even Steve has had enough of his music”) that stopped me cold. She was wicked and vicious and funny. Brilliant.

    We are treated to a medley at the end that strains your very nerve fibers as it leaps from one song to another – but by that time Feinstein and Everage are having so much fun that you don’t really care. It is a chance for them to do what they do best separately (be funny and sing pretty) only they get to do it together. This is what we wanted all along and thank God someone had the sense to get out of the way and let it happen. These are not actors. They are performers. All the plotting and planning doesn’t matter a whit once they get onstage together and let it rip as only they can.

    Everage and Feinstein should just lock themselves in a room together for a month and see what happens. I bet they would come up with something swell – and I’d jump in line for a ticket.

    (Tulis McCall)

    "The show starts to feel like one long, repeated session of coitus interruptus." & "Fragmented show."
    Ben Brantley for New York Times

    "You can't go wrong with Edna. Still, a dame shouldn't be left to do all the heavy lifting."
    Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post

    "There is something here for every imaginable taste, including those with an absence of it."
    John Simon for Bloomberg

    "It's so short, lightweight, and familiar that it evaporates from memory the minute you hit the pavement."
    David Sheward for Back Stage

    "It's not unfunny, and the unlikely pair do seem to be enjoying themselves. But there's no escaping the fact that we're not getting the 'A' stuff."
    Robert Feldberg for The Record

    "We're left feeling rather shortchanged."
    Roma Torre for NY1

    "Ill-conceived hybrid of music and humor."
    Frank Scheck for Hollywood Reporter

    "It hardly seems worth all the effort."
    Marily Stasio for Variety

    External links to full reviews from popular press...

    New York Times - New York Post - Bloomberg - Back Stage - The Record - NY1 - Hollywood Reporter - Variety