There was a time when people actually cared about what came out of their mouths. So much so that censorship also was actually taken seriously. So performers had to figure ways around linguistic prohibition. The ways that they did it – in some cases – were ingenuous. Reverend Mary (otherwise known as celebrated vocalist Mary Elizabeth Micari) and a group of talented singers and musicians send us back to that era, presenting us with a cacophony of insinuative tunes written by a few memorable music makers but mostly unknown artists just out to have a good time. Little did they know that their music would – in this clever racy revue – be remembered and enjoyed almost 100 years later.
We first meet the Reverend herself, decked out like a vaudeville lady in high style. Her glittering gown catching the light like the good old days of the kinescope concerts on television; blonde hair to match her boa, Rev. Mary begins with “Mighty Tight Woman.” Mary has a voice that shook the rafters of the legendary village cabaret, the Duplex. Clear as a bell and perfectly pitched, you can either cheer her great tone or roar at her clever use of humor within. She also plays a great washboard … no kidding.
Next we met Liz Rabson-Schnore. Ms. Schnore’s gravel-toned deadpan delivery hypnotized the crowd while her exquisite ukulele playing was both fascinating and totally toe-tapping. Her lady-tux costume worked perfectly with her Steven Wright style delivery.
The triumvirate of talented titillaters then spent the next hour shocking the crowd. Songs like “A Guy What Takes His Time” and “Sugar in My Bowl” showed off Rev. Mary’s range while “Sam, The Hot Dog Man” and “It Ain’t the Meat it’s the Motion” allowed us to laugh and gasp when we found out what they meant. It seems if you can’t take you tunes to the bedroom – get to the kitchen.
Ms. Rabaon-Schnore sang and played a joyously infectious “You Stole My Cherry.” Just infusing the word “tree” into this insinuative tune made it clean to the listening public.
Pianist Dan Furman even joined the sing-a-long as a randy repair man in “Telephone Man.” Nori Naraoka played a mean bass AND served as perfect mood-setting, complete with Sinatra tuxedo and porkpie hat.
The group came together with several tunes including the finale… “Wild Women Never Get the Blues, which was a great finale and an anthem.
The playbill completed the night with – are you ready – a glossary of terms for what the double-entendres actually meant. Example: Many songs dealt with Sam. Was he a shared lover, a local lothario… nope… SAM: a Sexy Attractive Man … or An Erection.
The entire package – playbill glossary and all – make Granny’s Blu-Mers a unique and thoroughly enjoyable event. This makes a great night in the theater or a viable tour of concert and music venues. I expect to see a portrait of Rev. Mary on The Duplex’s wall of fame very soon.