Saturday, November 28, 2015

Review of Porchlight Music Theatre's Ain't Misbehavin'

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Ain't Misbehavin'. It was conceived by Murry Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr. Thomas "Fats" Waller and various others wrote the music and lyrics. It was directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier and the music direction was by Austin Cook. It was about this group of friends (Robin Da Silva, Sharriese Hamilton, Donterrio Johnson, Lorenzo Rush, Jr. and Lina Wass) who were at this speakeasy and they are all singing these songs by Fats Waller, who was kind of like an idol to them it seemed. They didn't exactly have characters; they more had personalities. They didn't have names or jobs you knew about and you also didn't know exactly their relationships to each other, but they did give you clues about the relationships. It was like a character concert because it didn't really have an overall story, but each song showed a bit of a character's personality and you end up really feeling for the characters. I thought this was a really fun show. It was exciting and the music was so awesome and catchy.

There is a song called "The Ladies Who Sing with the Band" that was about ladies with nice bodies who didn't know how to sing, which I thought was a very funny but not entirely true song. There were so many very talented singers back then. I still found it very catchy. It was sung by the two men, Johnson and Rush, but I think it should have had some women singers too because they can also have opinions on women getting jobs because of what they look like. "Yacht Club Swing" was a song that was kind of as an example of these kinds of singers. I thought this one was really funny. It was sung by Hamilton who was wearing like a little cute sailor suit (costumes by Bill Morey), and she made it all kind of Ethel-Merman-y and off-key sometimes, which I absolutely thought was funny and I loved it.

"Lounging at the Waldorf" was a cool song. It was about rich people and how they go to hotels to lounge around and meet people. I liked how everybody when they walked out were in these expensive fur coats that looked very very fancy. They were all pretending to be rich people, even though they were at a speakeasy, which I thought was super funny. And they were making fun of rich people by being very posh and strutting around with their noses in the air and they all sang a little differently than when they were just themselves. It was more opera-y and less swing-y. And I loved how they had to mention that they liked jazz but in small doses. The song isn't just about the posh people; it is about the people who play for the posh people. I don't think the people singing the song like the people at the Waldorf very much because they like their jazz not quiet or in small doses but loud and in heaps! When Da Silva sings "Don't sing loud when you sing at the Waldorf" she sings loud and everybody shushes her and I thought that was very funny.

"The Viper's Drag," sung by Johnson, also happened when the posh people were around. The Viper seems to be a person who is living the high life, and he might have a lot of money but it would be from something not legal. He was very seductive and he tried to seduce someone in the front row who I know, which was hilarious. She is married, and she tried to stay away from it but she still wasn't a poor sport because she tried to make the best of the situation without being all sexy. And what they both did by twiddling their fingers at each other was fabulous and hilarious. Then he pretended she had just touched him and said, "You can look, but you can't touch," and I was thinking how good the actor did with the situation since he must never know each night what is going to happen.

My favorite song was one called "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" that was sung by Wass. The song was all about being a party animal but trying to change her ways so she could be with the person that she loved. I think that it is good that she is not a party animal anymore, because if you party too hard you can hurt yourself and you can also hurt other people. Also when you think you have found someone that you love, you don't want to mess up that chance. Her singing was so beautiful and lovely and I really loved it. I want to learn how to sing that song. I absolutely adored it.

People who would like this show are people who like swing music, vipers, and lounging at the Waldorf. I think that people should definitely go see this show. I thought it was so fun to be at. I loved the style of the music and the performances were just amazing. It isn't a holiday show per se, but it would be fun to take the whole family to during the holidays.

Photos: Kelsey Jorissen

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