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Thursday, 05 May 2011 13:07

These chicks like to sing, but do they fly?

These chicks like to sing, but do they fly?
Written by Emily Piro

Once upon a time, there were a couple of white chicks named Alice Kinsella and Debra Sharn. They liked to sit around. And sing, now and then.

One day, someone (whether Alice, Debra, or a presenters by the name Dolan) had the idea to put these two chicks, with their bright and buoyant musical theater personalities, on a Kranzberg stage. They aptly titled the show A Couple Of White Chicks Sitting Around Singing (a joking reference to the John Ford Noonan play A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking). And so it was.

They could have added "...With A Couple Of White Dudes On Backup" to their show title, giving props to the talented ménage of men who supported their serenades. Al Fischer led accompaniment on the piano (and threw in some great banter and backup singing), and was well joined by Ric Vice on upright and electric bass. Vice especially stood out on a nice featured moment in the jazzy "Back On Base" with Sharn. And Steve Shenghold came in on guitar as needed to funkify some of these white chick's numbers.

Kinsella and Sharn share the spotlight, and take turns showing off their humor and musical musings. At moments, however, the vocals were overwhelming. I'm not sure if the culprit of imbalance was my front-and-center seat mere feet away from performers belting to fill a room, or if the singers were over-mic'd.

Kinsella and Sharn pulled together an array of songs, from show tunes to folk songs to jazz standards. They hopped from song to song with banter that some would consider witty, but at times seemed a little too sharp. The women discussed their friendship and successes (or lack their of) with men, often intercepted with snarky jabs. They offered embarrassing stories about one another, and poked fun at their own successes and shortcomings. That said, the women fed off each other well. Most of the audience seemed to enjoy the jokes and all was in good humor, but I would have liked to see segues that were more celebratory, in line with the bubbly tone of the evening.

Most of the evening's offerings edged on the comedic side. Sharn delivered "The Alto's Lament," a tuneful piece about the condemnation of altos to tuneless monotony, with hilarious fervor. In an evening with many references to man hunting, Kinsella cut in with a ticklish rendition of a love song dedicated to air conditioners. The ladies threw in several other delightful numbers covering high school crushes, unlucky taste in men, and cute baristas.

The real moments that make the show worthwhile, though, come when both women calm down the cracks. Kinsella's best number was easily a sweet and warming rendition of Billy Joel's "And So It Goes." I couldn't help but smile when listening to her gentle delivery in honor of her parents. Sharn truly shone on "Life Story" from Closer Than Ever, which she sang with such sincerity that my partner was convinced that she had written the song about her own experiences.

All in all, I'd venture that an evening spent with these two white chicks would be best enjoyed by other white chicks – probably ones who like to sit around. And maybe who like to sing.

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