ROBERT LIEBOWITZ, ARTS INDEPENDENT
They say there is nothing new under the sun, but they lie. Well, not technically–there actually is nothing new under the sun, nor will there ever be–but if you caught the Reverend Mary and her merry gang of crooners at the Duplex last month, you never would’ve thunk it.
The Rev has unearthed musical masterpieces from the 20s and 30s, songs that probably no one has ever heard, or even known to exist, and given them a 21st century life that no one shall soon forget.
Know songs that have sexual innuendo in them? Of course you do. But guess what?
Suggestive little arias like that have been around since time and memorial, and in these repressive Politically Correct times, what a breath of fresh air to hear about the ‘sugar in my bowl’ and not have to worry about being shamed on Facebook for saying something deemed inappropriate.
Reverend Mary did it all, and then some. Besides her brilliant, bawdy voice, she brought her bawdy friends with her, dressed in a very bawdy way, and combined with a wicked sense of humor, made for a fun filled, adults only evening of superior entertainment.
Many of these songs were pre-Code, or when the Feds put their Morality Police to work in the hopes of cleaning up the movies and making them pure and wholesome. Yeah, surrrreeeee…..there is the Rev, singing songs by Mae West (yes!), Bessie Smith, and a dozen others, singing songs about about–gulp–sex. Yeah, that. No need to use anatomically correct verbiage–whats the fun in that? No, it was Euphemism City, and there were many creative uses of ordinary household words.
Hopefully the Rev (and her lovely boa, a boa that almost strangled her after every number!) will have a return engagement in the Big Apple sooner rather than later…perhaps a concert at City Hall, where the Mayor and his Brethren will get an opportunity to loosen their ties, and live a little…for after all, folks, this is how we all got here. Certainly, there is nothing shameful in that.