THE MURDER AND BOOZE CABARET (Love Drunk Life) 2019 Fringe review

34The-Murder-and-Booze-Cabaret-1200x526At Arden’s Hamilton Family Arts Center THE MURDER & BOOZE CABARET begins as guitar player and musical arranger, Sam Kwietniak, goes through his ‘20s jazz numbers, turning them into tunes that can sound a lot like Nine Inch Nails. A bar at the top of the bleachers serves up basic booze (all good stuff—no bathtub gin here). Appealing musical performers Allison Boyle and Camille E. Young, star as notorious Texas Guinan and Florence (possibly Florence Mills).

Digging into liquor laden torch songs, they sing numbers like What I Need is a Good Defense and Poisoned by the Government and You’re Toxic. Intoxicate Me Now, and the touching Will You Still Love Me When I’m No Longer Beautiful?  Devised by Katie Frazer and Brandon Monokian and directed by Shamus Hunter McCarty, The Love Drunk Life company recreates the breezy cynicism of a 1920s speakeasy, back when making, selling, and transporting booze was against the law, but drinking it wasn’t,  and everybody drank. The show is fun and a true three-way partnership between the musician and the singers. If only there were a few additional performance dates so that more audiences could enjoy it. 

[Arden Theatre Hamilton Family Arts Center, 65 North 2nd Street] September 6–22, 2019; fringearts.com/event/the-murder-booze-cabaret

 

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Kathryn Osenlund, theater and film junkie, is a former National Critics Institute fellow, NEA fellow in Arts Journalism, and member of the American Theater Critics Assn Steinberg and Osborn playwriting awards committee. A Barrymore Award nominator and professor emeritus in communications and theater, Kathryn also writes for NY-based CurtainUp.com. On twitter @theatrendorphin.