The sun has set at Laurel Hill Cemetery. A half-moon barely illuminates the gravestones, with faint shadows moving about off in the distance. There is a (very generously portioned) cocktail in your hand. Suddenly, the tinkling of a piano kicks in and a single naked light bulb clicks on. A figure, who looks like the offspring of Alan Cumming’s emcee from Cabaret and Cassandra Peterson’s Elvira, belts out an old Bessie Smith tune about spine-tingling love. I know what you’re thinking: “This should be fantastic!”
SIX FEET (ABOVE AND) UNDER: A GRAVEYARD CABARET should be fantastic—it’s the reincarnation of a sold-out show from last year’s Fringe, with lively arrangements of classic songs performed by spirited singers, in a graveyard. At night. With cocktails. The performers of the REV Theatre Company have some killer pipes, and they sell the material with a sexy mix of verve and swagger. The costumes are dead-on. But the microphones cut in and out, or don’t work at all for entire songs. There’s very barely any banter with the audience, and even that doesn’t come till almost an hour into the show. What should be simple and elegant lighting cues come across as simple and sloppy. Maybe because of the open terrain, or maybe (hopefully) because of tech issues, the performances often feel at arm’s length. That said, the good parts of this show are good enough that I want to see it again—once the problems have been worked out. [Laurel Hill Cemetery] September 13-21, 2013, fringearts.ticketleap.