Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sherie Rene Scott: A Work In Progress
Just about everything in the first fifteen minutes of Sherie Rene Scott's solo performance piece, up to and including a revised "You Made Me Love You" sung to a framed eight by ten of Jesus, falls flat and needs to be rethought. And the show's treacly finish, in which Scott tries to enlarge a cute story about her two year old into a meaningful metaphor for her life philosophy, doesn't feel earned by what's come before. But most of what stands between those bookends is pretty wonderful: her tribute to the songstack of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is played with a wink, but Scott also manages to mine the earnest simplicity of those songs for something unexpectedly lovely and poignant. A section in which she performs magic tricks, while recalling the New York street magician who was her first meaningful love affair, is well written and smartly performed; the simple, theatrical trick of making a bit of fabric disappear takes on emotionally loaded meaning. The show's biggest crowd-pleaser is an extended sketch in which Scott reaches out to a fan (played by Tyler Maynard) who lip-syncs to her version of "My Strongest Suit" on youtube: that's funny stuff, as fan and performer engage via emails. Scott is charming onstage throughout, and when she sings (accompanied here by a tight band led by Tom Kitt) she makes me bliss out on her full, smooth sound and her seemingly effortless ability. Most of A Work In Progress is delightful enough as it is for those of us who are fans - funny, revealing and full of Scott's warmth and humor - but with a little more work and a stronger throughline it could evolve into something wonderful for everyone.