Friday, January 25, 2008

An Evening With Carol Channing

Left at intermish.
Wings Theatre

In the ads for this two-act tribute there is a quote from the real Carol Channing: "The first time ever I have been shown with so much love, respect, and polish!". That sums it up nicely. But when real Carol Channing has so happily and actively become a caricature of herself over the years, what's the point in playing her any other way than for the laughs?- especially when you're a man in a dress. Throughout the classic Carol songs and monologues narrating her life story, Richard Skipper's carefully restrained portrayal is equal parts polite, genial and boring. Though it must be noted that there were plenty of people in the audience who were charmed by this comfortable, safe delivery- at one point there was happy clapping when "Carol" said at the end of a story that she'd "gotten the part!". Is it wrong to prefer a Carol Channing who gangsta raps and shows off her panties when she hitch-kicks? I suppose that's what my buddy and I were looking for on a Friday night on Christopher Street in the West Village, so we wandered out at intermission and started our bar crawl a little early.

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