Reviews for “Better Than Anything”
As reviewed by JAN WALLMAN
“Better Than Anything” indeed. What a happier way to spend the hottest night of the summer, than enjoying the hospitality of the lovely, cool and comfortable Metropolitan Room with Clark Warren’s interesting new show? Soft lights, sweet music, good songs interpreted by an entertainer eager to spread the joy, make for a grand way to forget the heat and humidity, and just relax and let this seasoned performer show his stuff.
I do love to see a well-dressed man on stage, wearing a smartly tailored summery white tuxedo, with a colorful print cummerbund and bowtie, this handsome, silver-haired gentleman looked “cool” in every sense of the word.
Backed by his long-time musical director/arranger, the always brilliant Frank Underwood, at the piano, with the addition of the mellow sounds of Jennifer Vincent alternating between acoustic bass and cello, Clark added his own harmonica and percussion to great effect, on some of his well-chosen numbers.
As he has proven in past seasons Clark knows how to please his ever growing following of cabaret goers who know they can count on him to deliver an evening of pure entertainment. You can add yourself to his list of enthusiasts, by making a reservation for the remaining show in this series. I urge you to do so.
You’ll have a good time with this program of stunningly arranged cabaret fare, presented by a master performer who can really charm an audience.
As reviewed by DAVID FINKLE
Resembling Johnny Carson’s better-looking brother, Clark Warren begins his Metropolitan Room stint with two cheer-up songs that have the opposite effect. One’s called “how’s that for Openers?” (Bob Florence-Fred Manley), and the other is “High on you” (Al Cohn-Ruth Price). In the later part of the second lyric, Warren tacks on “and you and you and you” to indicate he’s high on each of the lucky audience members.
Uh-oh. Is the gentleman in the white jacket and matching cummerbund and bow tie going to sic an act on us that could have been done 50 years ago? No he isn’t.
Gentleman-of-a-certain-age Warren may not eventually come across as the future of cabaret, but he is going to give his audience not only what they want but also what they might not have thought to want but are delighted to get.
One of those offerings is Joni Mitchell’s “Be Cool.” It can’t be a song Warren grew up with, but it’s a key to the coolth he can attain at his best…when he intones the Gerry Mulligan-Bobby Troup “Walkin’ Shoes” or takes his harmonica from an inside breast pocket to put flourishes on Dave Frishberg’s “I Want to Be a Sideman.”
At the piano is Frank Underwood, his longtime accompanist, and my hunch is Underwood engineered some of Warren’s special material. In one piece Warren sets out to prove he’s up to date by singing new words to the Oscar Hammerstein II-Richard Rodgers “The Surrey with the Fringe on Ton.” Would they were wittier. In another, he slows down the lyric and music to the I Love Lucy theme song (Harold Adamson-Eliot Daniel). Unfortunately, the ploy doesn’t sustain. Nevertheless, the man – who’s back in the Metropolitan Room – is thinking right.