You can credit Ted and Lo for truth in advertising; their show does hurt a bit. It also entertains, charms, and delights. I'm not sure that it gels overall, but what can you expect from a song list that covers love, insecurity, evil, mass murder, suicide, the media, and a boy who only says, "I Don't Care"?
Lo (Lorinda Lisitza) is amazing. (For an earlier, equally enthusiastic review of her work, click here.) She's the real deal, singing and acting brilliantly in a wide range of styles and moods. Her voice is gorgeous when she wants it to be and rough when that's her goal. She also plays a mean harmonica.
Lisitza has the talent and charisma of a star, and I would gladly, gratefully, go to see her in, oh, Next to Normal, Happy End, Beautiful, 42nd Street, the Addams Family, Chicago, Anyone Can Whistle, Sweeney Todd, Gypsy--well, you get the idea. Until producers wise up and cast her, I'll make sure to see whatever it is she does do.
My main complaint about This May Hurt a Bit is that I lack the ability to switch moods with the speed that the show requires. Going from a creepy song about evil and a vivid song about John Wayne Gacy Jr. to "When I'm Sixty-Four" gave me emotional whiplash. I understand Ted & Lo's goal of showing that love is stronger than hate, but, although I am reluctant to admit my wimpiness, the upsetting songs were challenging for me to process on a late Sunday afternoon cabaret visit.
However, the show also features "You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me," "I’m Your Baby Tonight," "Good-bye Yellow Brick Road" (first time I ever understood all of the lyrics!), and "Hopelessly Yours," along with Ted & Lo's own "Reassure Me (Monster)" (very funny) and "This May Hurt a Bit" (very touching).
Check out Don't Tell Mama's website for info about Ted & Lo's future gigs. They may hurt a bit, but it's worth the pain.
(audience right, pretty close to stage, press ticket)